Making sure that your team has the appropriate work clothing isn’t always about making sure you have your company name emblazoned on their tops (although we know it helps), it’s also about safety, security, uniformity, confidence and more.
In the UK, you will find hundreds of businesses requiring their employees to wear a standard uniform to create an impression of professionalism as well as helping to portray a positive and consistent brand image.
However, when it comes to implementing a basic uniform policy, there are pros and cons, and these need be taken into consideration when writing your workwear policies.
Organisation type and culture
When thinking about implementing a uniform policy, you need to think about what type of sector you’re operating in.
For example, in the police force, a standard uniform is common practice, widely accepted, and offers the level of security necessary to make officers easily distinguishable.
But what about for an IT department or a call centre who don’t necessarily meet with customers face to face?
Then follows company culture. How will people react if you implement a new uniform policy?
How will you manage this change? Will implementing such a policy even change the culture within the organisation and is this something you want to happen?
In these instances, you have to think about the sector in which you operate as well as the company culture your employees are working within as the answers to these will help form part of your policy and most certainly your implementation.
Advantages of uniform policies
As we mentioned above, there are certain job roles and functions which will have their uniform and work clothing dictated to them for obvious reasons.
In some sectors, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hi-vis workwear will also be needed and enforced by employers as part of their duty to keep their employees safe on sites at all times.
Often, having a set of guidelines which informs staff and new starters about what is allowed and what is not allowed helps to cover off any grey areas and protect against any potential injuries.
These guidelines also help to encourage a level of professionalism, in that people get into “work mode” when they put their uniform on, and behaviours and attitudes can change to suit their environment.
Implementing a standard uniform also helps you to increase your brand awareness and presence.
A set dress code can show that you’re looking after the best interests of your employees.
Taking into consideration the practical aspect of the job they’re carrying out as well as their comfort.
Disadvantages of uniform policies
The main problem of enforcing a strict dress code occurs in workplaces that don’t necessarily need one. Having a negative effect on people’s mood and behaviour because to some degree safety, practicality and brand image are not an issue, hence bringing in a uniform policy might seem too controlling.
Employees also know their mind, and coming in too heavy-handed with a new uniform policy could stir up some rebellion! Starting a war over a uniform will detract from the day job, and you will find productivity levels plummet as a result.
This dissatisfaction can also occur if the policy is not communicated appropriately.
Know the terms
When it comes to workwear in the UK, we often categorise uniform into types, by using standard phrases. Phrases such as:
- Smart casual
- Business casual
It is almost like a line of formality, starting at the top and working your way down.
You need to be mindful of what is appropriate for each role within your company, from what is practical and comfortable, to what forms part of the protective workwear that you must provide under PPE regulations.
In keeping with your brand
If you really want to push your marketing and brand presence further, then providing employees with a corporate uniform is certainly the right way to achieve it.
Not only does it help you to achieve consistency, but it also makes employees easily identifiable to your customers and other employees too.
Writing your uniform policy
Firstly, introduce the reason and rationale behind the policy. Providing a reason stops any perceptions from forming that this is simply just something “management” are forcing.
Then identify whom your policy applies to. It might be everyone, or you might have more specialist workwear identified for those working in more hazardous roles for example.
Give examples of the types of clothing. For example, if it’s a uniform that you are solely providing then fine, but if it’s smart casual or business casual, then provide examples of what this could be, don’t leave scope for vagueness to creep in.
Make sure to avoid discrimination on all counts, as well as being able to make reasonable adjustments where necessary.
Finally, talk about how you will be monitoring these rules and consequences if employees do not follow new policies, communicating all of this carefully and respectfully.
At Active Workwear UK, we provide a wide range of work clothing all suitable to be branded, meet safety regulations and help provide the level of consistency you’re looking for.
To find out more check out our workwear pages or call us on 0113 256 7021
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