Phrases such as business wear or corporate clothing refer to the dress code and company on what is and what is not appropriate for their workplace. This is frequently written out as a set of standards that explicitly state what can be worn. The code itself will range from formal to casual and is commonly determined by the employer’s core business, and how likely it is that the employee will be interacting with the public and/or competitors and other business agencies. Often it is common sense as to what is appropriate, and a core reason some organisations feel the need for a dress code is that removes any arguments and means that employees can focus on their day to day duties and responsibilities. A phrase such as staff uniforms conjures up images of firefighters or factory workers, but most workplaces have some sort of written dress code, so why is so much attached to ensuring employees maintain certain standards of appearance in the workplace?
Consistency: If employees are wearing more or less the same clothing it creates a standard and respectable image for the company. During work hours in the workplace, employees represent their employer’s professional image. Wearing appropriate clothing is a fundamental part of that representation. In the hospitality industry, consistency is intertwined with ensuring that employers are easy to see, meaning that customers can very quickly call for help or advice. No matter the reason, staff uniforms undoubtedly create a professional appearance which is generally expected as a set of enforceable standards.
Free advertising: This is perhaps more important for those occupations where there is often direct contact between employees, the public and other professional organisations. This contact can mean a boiler repair person visiting a domestic property or a catering company delivering to a function in a five star hotel. Here the employee is directly representing their employer, and as such the name and contact details of the business will be on clear display meaning that current and potentially future companies will be able to recognise and ideally contact (for the right reasons) the business. Corporate uniforms often become part of the employer’s marketing strategy and as such great attention is paid to professional and functional business clothing.
Team building: A staff uniform does not have to mean wearing a shirt and tie, it can also mean wearing a T-shirt and jeans when fundraising for a particular organisation. Many organisations realise that professional does not always mean formal. If you are an employee or representative of an organisation that is communicating directly with the public, comfort is a factor. Here, it is crucial that the employee feels secure with what they are doing, and part of that involves instilling a strong sense of pride and belief by providing a means by which they can be associated with the organisation they are representing. Often, this means providing appropriate all weather outdoor clothing that clearly displays the organisations logo and contact details. The employees will feel that they are walking together toward a common set of objectives and feel more confident about hitting them.
Overall most employers have very good reason for insisting on some kind of dress code. Even on “casual wear days” there are clear stipulations that employees have to follow. Most people see the need for some kind of written policy on acceptable clothing because it creates a mutually beneficial professional business relationship which should lead to improved loyalty on the part of employees and success on the part of the employer.