Dress codes in businesses are often viewed as historic relics based on a more traditional view of how employees should dress in a workplace (suit, ties, stockings etc). While it’s important that employees are well presented, some organisations, (such as Price Waterhouse Coopers) are relaxing dress codes in favour of trusting employees to make suitable decisions about their workwear themselves. PWC have stated that their employees have been advised to dress in a way that makes them feel great, is respectful to clients and colleagues and is safe and appropriate for the environment they are in.
So in drafting a dress code, what should businesses bear in mind?
Chris Pash, author of ‘The New, Unofficial Dress Code For Corporate Australia’ has advised that employees should be trusted to make decisions on what they wear to work. “If people can’t be trusted to dress appropriately, then they are likely not of sufficient calibre to be hired at all”, says Pash.
According to Carol Roth, author of the article: ‘6 Things to Consider When Formulating Your Small Business Dress Code’, businesses need to empower their employees to make decisions regarding appropriate work attire according to their role and responsibilities. One of the most important factors is exposure to customers: if employees are customer facing, their clothes need to be appropriate to the clients they are meeting. Other considerations are employee safety: if tools or machinery are used, it’s important that employees are dressed in appropriate clothing for the work they need to undertake.
Another important factor to consider is that employees are essentially an extension of your company brand and as representations in the marketplace, it’s important that they accurately reflect how you would like your brand to be perceived by others. If your company is a high-end fashion retailer, it makes sense that your dress code would reflect the clothes you would like your employees to wear. For smaller businesses, your company dress code might be flexible enough to ensure that employees are given the ability to make smart decisions regarding their attire, so long as they are well presented.
If you would like assistance drafting your company dress code, speak to the HR Consulting team at Flexi Personnel.