How To Implement An 'On Brand' Office Dress Code

Category: Office Design

Office Dress Code

When it comes to branding a workplace, many business owners or higher-ups immediately think of full-scale office refurbishment projects and focus their attention on the design of the workplace itself. However, in actual fact, one of the most simple ways to make your space appear more 'on brand' is to introduce a sensible dress code.

In this blog post, we take a look at precisely what you need to do to make sure your implementation of a dress code reflects your brand values, while keeping staff happy as well.

1. Think About Your Company Culture

One of the very first things you should consider when implementing a dress code is your overall corporate culture. What does your business sell, and what image do you want to portray? Who are your clients or customers, and what will they expect to see? What office branding have you carried out, and what is your overall marketing strategy?

Employees in an accounting firm will need to look smart and professional, but this might not be suitable for a sports company targeting a young clientele, so dress your staff to match the way you present your business.

2. Apply the Same Rules to Everyone

As with any type of branding, the key is to avoid conflicting and confusing perceptions . For this reason, it is vitally important that your basic dress code applies to everyone in your organisation, and that each member of a department’s appearance is inconsistent. Not only will this make your staff look more 'on brand', it will save arguments too.

"Saying that managers must dress formally and employees more casually is a recipe for backlash," says Ashley Wilczek from Justice AV Solutions, in an article for Forbes.

3. Consider the Practicalities

Next, you need to consider whether what you are planning is actually practical. After all, an unsuitable work uniform will not present your brand in a favourable light. In particular, you need to ensure that staff will be comfortable, will not be restricted from any work activities, and will be sufficiently protected from any hazards.

You should also think about how far you actually need to go with your policy. Do you need staff to all wear the exact same thing, or do you just need to eliminate jeans and other casual or unsuitable attire?

4. Double Check the Legalities

In addition to thinking about the practicalities of your dress code, it is important to make sure what you are planning is legal and will not cause any controversy. In the United Kingdom, it is essential that dress codes do not cause any issues for people with disabilities, while certain safety equipment may be compulsory in some settings.

Similarly, you need to avoid controversy. Dress codes should be gender neutral and policies should not single out either men or women for specific issues. If in doubt, it is worth asking for advice from a legal expert.

5. Ask For Your Employees' Thoughts

Finally, your employees are a valuable resource and their opinion should count for something. You could do worse than running your ideas by a few trusted employees to gain their insight, or even asking every staff member for their ideas on what should and should not be worn in the workplace.

Not all ideas from employees will be feasible and adhering to company values should remain the aim. Nevertheless, as a general rule, a mutually agreed dress code is much more likely to be successful than an enforced dress code.

Posted 17th August, 2017

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