Many small business owners and managers don’t think too much about the dress of their staff. But as you begin to grow and develop into a professional organization, it definitely worth considering whether a dress code could be valuable for you.
A dress code can help build cohesiveness within a team as well as making the business appear more impressive to customers. But if you aren’t careful, it can come at the price of alienating employees. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a dress code.
The advantages of a dress code
It doesn’t have to be formal
When you talk about a business dress code, it’s often assumed that this means suits, ties and formal clothes. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. A dress code can reflect the nature and ethos of your business, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to come across as corporate on a day-to-day basis. For many businesses, smart-casual attire is perfectly acceptable.
There are plenty of different ways to create a more professional business from investing in website design to organising your team efficiently with a work scheduler. But one of the easiest ways to change the way that your business is perceived is to switch to smart attire. This is especially important if your business has partners, suppliers or clients in the workplace on a regular basis. Your appearance really does make a big difference in the eyes of other professionals. It’s a boost to your credibility as a business and can make a good first impression with new customers.
Avoid arguments in the workplace
If there is no specific dress code, the idea of what is acceptable to wear to work can be misinterpreted. This can lead to disagreements, as some employees might believe something is acceptable, while managers do not. Implementing a work dress code cuts out the possibility for arguments and makes things completely clear.
Push your brand
One aspect that we haven’t talked about is the opportunity for uniforms. Wearing a uniform not only gives your works an identity within the business but can also be a tool to encourage brand recognition. In customer-facing roles this can help to develop trust and loyalty to your business.
The disadvantages of a dress code
A less relaxed atmosphere
When workers are allowed to wear their own casual clothes in can help to foster a relaxed and easy going environment in the workplace. But on the other hand when you take away this option you’re going in the opposite direction.
Being forced to wear smarter attire can leave employees feeling more stressed, and it could even have the potential to affect the team atmosphere and morale. If you are going to bring in a dress code make sure that you have multiple consultations with the team to help ensure that you can to an arrangement that everyone is happy with.
Possible PR and HR disasters
There have been a number of reports in the media recently about the potentially sexist treatment of female staff members being forced to wear high heels and even makeup as a part of their work attire. This shows that trying to implement a dress code can have unforeseen consequences, especially if the policy has not been thought through properly.
Perceived as a negative by staff
Another issue with implementing a dress code is that it can be taken as a negative by your staff. We have already talked about how being asked to dress smarter can lead to a lowering of morale, but it’s also true that a change in the dress code policy can feel like a punishment. This is because it can be like telling your team that the way that they currently dress is not acceptable. Make sure that any implantation of a dress code coincides with a lengthy discussion about how this is not designed as a negative but as a positive.
Casual clothes can come across better
It is often perceived that smarter clothes give off a better impression, but this isn’t always the case. For some businesses it can actually be beneficial to come across as more human and relaxed. Consider carefully the industry that you work within before you commit to a dress code – it’s not necessarily a benefit to you.