Drawing Out a Summer Dress Code at Work
Your job as a business manager or executive should remain firmly affixed on the performance of your company. Unfortunately, there are a great number of potential challenges that may arise in your day-to-day operations that can threaten to divert your attention to matters that, while seemingly inconsequential, can negatively impact that performance. One such challenge tends to reappear on an annual basis, right around the time that late spring weather begins to give way to the warmer climate of the summer months. With this seasonal change comes the inevitable discussion of establishing an appropriate dress code at work.
How Inappropriate Dress May Affect Job Performance
The problem inherent with addressing the matter of dress code at work is that it is viewed almost universally as a subjective issue. What certain employees may view as more than modest and conservative, others may see as wildly inappropriate. While the first thought of many in your position may be that since as such an issue is not directly tied to employee performance, then it’s something that’s best left to the individual and dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The problem with that line of thinking is that it completely dismisses the impact that one’s attire can have on the work that he or she does as well as that of others.
One of the major problems associated with dress code at work is inappropriate workplace behavior. Your employees often view the way that others dress or comport themselves as signs gauging their personalities or feelings towards others. In certain situations, inappropriate dress may be interpreted as a reflection or one’s moral character, or even his or her potential romantic interest in a fellow co-worker. Not only can this lead to office distractions, but it may also result in incorrect assumptions that could lead to potentially harassing behavior.
Things to Remember when Creating Your Company’s Dress Policy
Thus, in the interest of maintaining good office morale, it is important that you take the time to develop well-defined dress code at work standards. Here are a few factors that you may want to consider when creating or revising your office’s policy:
-Be equitable: In many professional settings such as yours, the prevailing thought is that dress code policies are primarily aimed at female employees. The unintended consequence of this feeling is that women in the workplace often believe that their employers blame them for any distractions that happen in the office. Therefore, you need to make sure that you place equal emphasis on what the men working in your company can and cannot wear.
-Be vague, yet specific: The general rule of thumb to follow when drafting a dress code at work is to encourage employees to avoid any attire that may be viewed as distracting to others. However, if you simply leave it at that, you leave your policy open to interpretation. Go one step further and give specific examples of distracting dress, such as tops that reveal a woman’s midsection, bra straps, or cleavage, or shirts that don’t cover a man’s shoulders.
-Add accountability: It’s simply not enough to post your company’s dress code and then assume that all of your employee’s will adhere to it. Rather, you need to add a level of accountability that helps clarify the seriousness of it. Having employees review and sign a copy of it allows you the authority to enforce the dress code on the grounds that an employee knew what its terms were and agreed to follow them.
Presenting the Dress Code to Employees
The thought of introducing a new or revised dress code at work may seem daunting to you. However, if done appropriately, you may be surprised at how well it is received. The key is to present it as something that will help employees to do their jobs rather than limit their freedoms. If you’re able to show how inappropriate clothing could lead to unwanted advances, which would inevitably result in embarrassment and awkwardness, then your employees may better understand your intent behind the policy.
If you’re not careful, issues surrounding your dress code at work can quickly turn divisive and threaten to bring your productivity to a standstill. The best way to avoid the potential of this happening in your office is to set expectations right from the get go. Incoming employees should be well aware of any and all of your office standards, and should display a ready willingness to adhere to them. The challenge them becomes discerning whether or not they’re sincere in their assertions, or are simply telling you what you want to hear in the hopes of landing the job. Mighty Recruiter can provide you with tools to help interpret answers and behaviors in prospective employees that will allow you to pinpoint those least likely to present problems later on down the line.