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Dress Code Policy at Work

Do you know what your dress code involves? Do you know where to find the policy? Do you even care? 

It does not matter what your occupation is. Whether you are an accountant or agricultural gardener, there will be a dress code policy. It is common knowledge that lawyers wear suits and doctors wear scrubs. But uniforms for other jobs can be vague and will differ from company to company. The choice of what to wear in the workplace is a mix of fashion, culture, comfort, weather and preference.

A dress code defines what is appropriate for employees to wear in the workplace. With a dress code policy, a company can appear professional and consistent. If the company leaves it open to interpretation, outfits can range from jeans and t-shirt to suit and tie. By implementing a dress code policy, employers can prevent any issues from occurring.

Advantages of a Dress Code Policy

Employees who interact with customers need to appear professional and welcoming. A policy that states how to dress ensures employees represent the company well.

With certain jobs, a dress code policy should consider the safety of its employees and others. For example, protective clothing in construction, food preparation, or medical jobs.

Disadvantages of a Dress Code Policy

People do not like dress codes. They may feel uncomfortable or be unhappy with the lack of individuality. Employees can express their personal style with total freedom over their outfits. Yet a dress code policy should not be completely abandoned.

A flexible policy is often the best approach. Uniforms offer consistency but should not be a necessity. Try to put in place a policy that sets a standard but still gives your employees some freedom.

A Dress Code Suitable for Everyone

Any dress code should be non-discriminatory and should apply to everyone. Sometimes there are different policies for different teams. For example, employees who interact with customers have more stringent dress code. The dress code policy shouldn’t be discriminatory to religion, gender or race.

Always have a legal team review any new workplace policies before they’re shared with the staff.

Dress Code Violations

In the policy there should be a section explaining the consequences.

Generally, for first time violators, a calm and private conversation is had. The company will explain how the outfit falls short of expectations. If an employee fails to follow the dress code several times, they can be sent home, suspend or terminated.

Advice for Dress Codes

Employers may adopt a more casual approach to dress during the summer.

Employees may wish to support charities and ask for exceptions to normal rules.

Give specific examples of what types of attire are acceptable.

Put it on paper. Your dress code policy should be documented and explained in your employee handbook. Make sure it’s explained to new hires, so they come in well-dressed on their first day.

Clothes don’t make the man, but they do go a long way towards making a positive impact. The office is not a catwalk, but it is also not a pyjama party or a nightclub, either.