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Points To Consider In Creating A Workplace Dress Code

By Jocelyn Brown
Dress Code

June 21 2019 - About 55% of workplaces have a dress code in place to promote professionalism and employee safety. More and more offices are adapting casual dress policies, allowing employees more flexibility for self-expression in how they dress. Casual office dress codes, however, may still prohibit certain items from being worn in order to best reflect the company's values. Jobs that require physical labor or working with potentially hazardous materials may have stricter standards of dress, or a uniform for employee's protection. Uniforms and dress codes can also make it easier to identify an employee by their job role, which can be useful when working in retail, the service industry, at a hospital, or as an emergency responder. When HR professionals enforce a standard of dress, whether it's a casual policy, a uniform, or somewhere in between, it makes work life easier for employees, and improves productivity. Consider the ways in which a dress code can benefit your workforce, and how to modify policies to best meet the needs of your team.

Employees Spend Less Time Focusing on Appearance

Placing guidelines helps to answer basic questions about appropriate attire that may not be obvious to everyone. When employees are specifically told what they can or cannot wear, it helps take the pressure off selecting a work outfit, making it easier to get to work on time and feel comfortable and confident throughout the day. Employees are also more likely to focus on each other's skill sets and contributions, viewing each other as teammates, rather than judging one another on their clothing choices. This helps dismantle socioeconomic barriers, and encourages employees to view one another as equals. A dress code does not have to lean in the direction of more formal, high cost clothing. Even a more flexible dress code, which prohibits jeans and sweatpants, can help level the playing field.

Dressing For Success Can Help Build Confidence

A dress code should not only take the stress off selecting workwear, but also provide employees with a fail-proof approach to looking their best. Research shows that dressing for success is an effective strategy; in one study, people dressed in suits achieved $1.58 million dollars more in sales than people dressed in sweatpants. When an employee is dressed appropriately, they can better visualize succeeding in their job role, and feel like they belong in their position. In jobs that require interface with clients,well-tailored clothing, suits and ties convey the necessary air of professionalism and authority. More formal attire does not have to mean less creativity in fashion choices. In fact, subtle forms of creative self-expression in fashion choices can make sales people more personable and more likely to close a deal. In menswear, the color or pattern of your tie can help convey a message: red makes you appear powerful, blue says that you're trustworthy, and fun patterns can suggest creativity.

Apply Dress Codes Equally To All Employees

When creating a dress code for your office, make sure the rules apply equally to all employees, regardless of gender. A dress code that places a disproportionate number of rules on women's clothing choices, for example, is counterproductive to the intentions of a dress code, which is to help employees feel comfortable and respected. Make sure employees do not feel shamed if they fail to adhere to guidelines; be receptive to feedback, and keep your employees' best interest at the forefront of all decision making.

Effectively guiding and managing attire in the workplace can build a stronger team of employees. How we dress impacts our confidence, and confidence is crucial to success. Creating and enforcing a dress code can improve employee morale and create an atmosphere of respect.


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