You can’t deny it the temps are finally heating up! We are all welcoming more temperate weather (and perhaps welcoming a few new pieces to the wardrobe). However; the weather change may also bring some questionable clothing decisions in the workplace. While dress code policies are not necessary in all industries, a seasonal change is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with the dress code policy for your business. Do you have one? Is it specific enough to minimize the chance of a wardrobe mishap? Here are some very general guidelines for an office dress code policy you may want to consider:
- Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, back, chest, stomach, or underwear, is not appropriate.
- Clothing that is dirty, ripped, or ragged, is unacceptable.
- Clothing that one would wear on the beach, to do yard work, or to exercise in, is not suitable.
- Clothing with words or pictures that are offensive is inappropriate.
- Clothing that may represent that of a competitor is unacceptable. (Yes, it has happened.)
More specifically, some offices have a “business casual” dress code that consists of pressed, never wrinkled – suits, button up shirts, slacks, sweater sets, blouses and conservative dress shoes as professional attire. Often, the companies who follow the business casual dress code have one more casual day during the week, usually on Friday. This day allows for jeans and items with the company logo or other casual shirts.
There are other things to consider when preparing a dress code for your business. Tattoos, piercings and perfume/cologne are a few items that may need to be detailed in your policy. Perfume and cologne should be used in restraint, as some employees may be allergic to the chemicals used to make them. Also, even though tattoos and piercings may be seen more frequently in recent years, explicitly mentioning them in the dress code policy may help to avoid issues in the future.
On special occasions or during inclement weather, a company may allow staff to dress in a more casual fashion than normal. If this occurs, employees are still expected to be clean and presentable and continue to follow the guidelines to avoid clothing that is unacceptable.
No policy covers all contingencies, so reminding employees to err on the side of caution is a good idea. If there is a possibility that someone could be offended by it, it’s probably best not to wear it to work. It is important for all employees to feel comfortable. If a certain article of clothing is deemed unacceptable, telling the employee not wear it again will hopefully take care of the issue. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to specify in the policy that employees may be sent home to change clothes if they have been warned about specific clothing previously, and that disciplinary action may result if an employee consistently wears unacceptable attire.
For additional information on dress code policies, please contact us at www.newfocushr.com.
Written By: Kristen Shingleton Deutsch, M.B.A., CCP
President, New Focus HR LLC