Perhaps your employees wear uniforms and company hats. Or maybe suit and tie is the standard garb in your workplace. If not, your probably one of many employers that struggle with developing and enforcing a company dress code that fits the time. Here are some things to consider and some tips to help you when writing policy that addresses the dress.
Signs of the Time – You’ve undoubtedly seen an increase in tattoos and piercings. From celebrity runways to hot-shot executives, this seems to be all the rage. More and more, employers are accepting the notion that tattoos and piercings are not as offensive as once perceived. One way to gauge if this works for you is to look at your clientele. Is your target demographic a more accepting population and more so, are they sporting these tattoos and piercings themselves? If the answer is yes, it’s probably ok to relax your dress code to allow non-offensive tattoos and moderate piercings.
Happy Employees are Busy Employees – Many studies have shown that if employees are comfortable, their work output increases. Perhaps allowing jeans is what will please the masses. Or maybe you push the envelop even further by allowing t-shirts and sandals. If there are no safety concerns and if the relaxed dress code is not interpretively offensive, you should let it slide for the sake of happy employees and increased productivity. Also, remember that your employee base may be more financially able to maintain a relaxed wardrobe than one requiring a trip to the local Niemen Marcus.
In the Public Eye of the Beholder – Many companies employ both front and back of the house workers. Even if you operate in an office environment, there are always individuals who work face-to-face with clients and others that work back office that will rarely interact with clients in person. Consider allowing the back-office employees to enjoy a more relaxed dress code that will make them more comfortable as they sit in their cubicle all day.Seriously, have you ever tried staying stationary for 8 hours in non-breathable slacks and a long-sleeve shirt? Not fun.
Choose your Battles – It never fails to amaze me; the things people choose to argue about. Unless the success of your business depends on the appearance of each and every employee, you may consider loosening up on this policy. Choose to focus on other more important areas like productivity, training, development and overall ways to market and grow your business. Relax and leave the headaches to the fashion police.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself how important your dress code is to your business in a market where employees can choose from employers for whom they wish to work. A relaxed dress code costs you nothing and if done right, can even gain you yardage. In many cases, employees have even turned down other job offers due to a more comfortable and relaxed work environment at their current employer.
Talk to your human resources representative about ways to make this area work for you.
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