Home' HR Monthly : May 2015 Contents 12
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The way that people dress in a workplace says a huge amount
about the culture, the ethos and ultimately, the personality of
a company. It is often said, ‘One should dress for the job you
want rather than the one you have’. The same can be said for an
organisation. Your company should dress for the brand perception
and the clients that you want to attract. Most importantly, business
leaders should encourage their workers to dress in a way that
makes them more productive, alert and focused on achieving
professional success. This means that some businesses should be
prepared to relax their attitudes towards corporate dress codes.
Steve Jobs, for example, is proof that not all successful, creative
and innovative people wear tailored trousers.
As new generations enter the office and social media facilitates
integration of our social and working lives, companies with
casual dress codes are increasingly seen as fresh, youthful and
approachable by audiences.
With agile and mobile workspaces becoming the norm, flexible
companies that encourage workers to think creatively can reap
rewards in productivity. Irrespective of the industry, some staff will
feel more creative and be more productive wearing jeans.
Studies on the influence that clothes have on the wearer’s
psychological processes have shown that what you wear has an
impact on your mood and behaviour. To foster and celebrate
achievement, it may be time to consider leaving those power suits
in the closet.
Businesses all over the world spend a huge amount of time
and effort at creating their brand – and sometimes all it takes
is a handful of inappropriately dressed employees to undo that
The bottom line is employees are a representation of the
business. So it makes sense that a company would like their
employees to contribute positively to the reputation of the business
– and having professional looking employees is a huge factor.
While the majority of people probably get it right, it’s the
handful that don’t which makes it necessary for an organisation to
introduce a dress code. The fact is, terms such as ‘smart business
wear’ or ‘casual Friday’ are open to vast interpretation, so it is
helpful to provide boundaries as to what is meant by those terms.
I’ve been called in to numerous organisations, large and small,
to coach their teams on appropriate work attire because some
employees just push the envelope a little too far, from wearing Ugg
boots in a corporate workplace, to peek-a-boo bras and the overly
For dress codes to work, you can’t get too rigorous or dictate
every detail. In other words, be careful not to take it too far when
it comes to restrictions, but state the minimum standard of dress
that is expected. It is important to be clear about what is not
acceptable and how that links back to your company brand.
Ultimately, this is about ensuring a consistent representation of
your brand and image in the market.
FOR OR AGAINST?
TWO BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS TACKLE A TOPICAL DEBATE EACH MONTH.
Q SHOULD BUSINESSES HAVE A DRESS CODE
IN THE WORKPLACE?
OFFICER AT CELLNET
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