A policy that has become more commonly implemented in the workplace is the dress code. Different businesses across multiple sectors now elect to advise their employees on how to dress for work. A dress code can include strict requirements that apply to all team members, or it could be a set of guidelines as to what is acceptable in the workplace and what isn’t.
Typically, companies have dress codes that are customized to suit the kind of workplace they operate. Some are more relaxed and casual, for example, younger tech companies often have smart casual dress code policies, while those in the financial sector, for instance, opt for more formal attire. There are also organizations that prefer to provide their employees with a uniform.
Here are a few factors to consider if you are deciding whether to implement a dress code:
While dress code policies can be contentious and need careful consideration to avoid discrimination, there is no denying that there are positive outcomes your workplace can enjoy with the implementation of a dress code. Here are just a few of them:
Dress codes create long-lasting impressions
We cannot avoid the fact that people make assumptions based on appearances. If your employees are in client-facing roles, then you want them to give them a great first impression. A dress code in the workplace helps to ensure that when customers meet any of your employees they are accurately reflecting the nature of the company and are making a good visual impression from the get-go.
Dress codes highlight professionalism
A dress code should always relate to the organization’s given industry. Certain workplaces such as construction sites have very specific rules for workers to wear safety gear. The same principle applies to jobs in other industries. In the business and financial industries, for example, employees should be dressed in formal wear in order for the office to be identifiable as a formal place of work. More creative companies such as marketing agencies and architecture firms may opt for a more casual dress code to allow employees to express themselves.
Dress codes enable employees to save money
There is no denying that clothing can be expensive. Fashion is constantly evolving and employees who work in an office and have to go out in public every day are under constant pressure to keep up. Without a uniform dress code in the workplace, ‘dressing well’ may also correspond to ‘being stylish.’ This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, it can harm your employees financially. Employees can end up spending a large chunk of their salary in an effort to look good, buying new clothes every month just so they can stay on trend.
A dress code can help to eliminate these issues. It reduces the need to buy new clothes simply for the sake of not repeating an outfit. Employees can focus on their productivity and save money at the same time.
Dress codes create visual uniformity
If you run an office and one employee consistently shows up in sweat pants and flip-flops, this ultra-casual attire can throw off the entire mood of the workplace. When everyone is on the same page about what is appropriate work attire you reduce the chance of this happening and have leverage if you need to take action. A dress code can also increase the unity of the team by establishing uniformity.
Dress codes enhance the image of your business
To stand out from your competition, your company needs to have an attractive brand image. This means making a stand-out, professional impression on your target audience so you can gain and retain new customers. To improve your brand image, one of the most effective things you can do is implement a dress code in the workplace.
Remember that everyone employed as a member of your team is a representative of your entire business. When clients and prospective employees enter your workplace, the last thing you want is for them to question your credibility because your staff looks messy, underdressed, or unprofessional.
Dress codes instill productivity
Employees are known to be more productive when they’re dressed in ‘work clothes.’ You can use this to your advantage by adapting your dress code policy to suit your workforce. If you manage a team of creative young professionals then you might not want to enforce strict business formal as it can restrict their inventiveness. A smart casual dress code will suit them much better, giving them a professional look with the opportunity to inject their personality. If you manage an experienced veteran team in a highly demanding industry, they might work better with a formal dress code that will make them feel empowered.
Dress codes can be criticized for being too restrictive, but giving employees the freedom to choose what they wear every day isn’t always working in their favor. Depending on the team that you work with, formulate a dress code policy that is agreeable and inclusive but still represents your ideal company brand image. It is important to note that dress codes should be strategic and feel like guidelines instead of strict rules.
A dress code is just one aspect of the culture of a company and how it affects employee's perceptions of the workplace. Take the Smart Survey and discover where your business can improve and become an Amazing Workplace.