The Importance of a Dress Code Policy for the Workplace
While a company can determine the appropriate dress code policy for the workplace, it is an offense to discriminate.
It is outside the scope of this article to explore in detail what the law of the country says in this regard, so common sense must prevail for both employers and employees when exercising their rights. You certainly don’t want your epitaph to read something like this,
“Here lies the body of Henry Gray
He died defending his right of way.
His way was right, his will was strong,
But he’s just as dead as if he was wrong.”
As humorous as the above epitaph may be, people can go to great lengths insisting on their right to choose what to wear in the workplace. Of course, it may be your right to dress in a certain way, but ask yourself the following questions. What impression do I want my customers to have about me as an individual and as a representative of my company? What message am I communicating with my coworkers, my staff and my superiors?
Having a company dress code, or even better, a uniform, can relieve you of a lot of stress. Neither you nor your staff want to be involved in protracted legal battles. Set the record straight now!
When drafting your company’s dress code remember that your company’s objective is to allow your employees to work comfortably in the workplace. You want them to project a professional image to your customers and others. Having uniformity of appearance will project your corporate image both on and off the workplace.
Dress for Success
The way you look plays a significant role in your success. According to Nicole Williams, career expert at LinkedIn, “the problem with appearance is that it translates to performance. Even if your boss doesn’t think that they’re thinking any less of you, they will subconsciously think it. When you don’t fit in, you’re not as accepted and welcomed”. And at some point, this could hurt your chances of getting a promotion.
Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, back and chest, feet, stomach or underwear is not appropriate. Even in a casual business work environment, clothing should be pressed and never wrinkled. Torn, dirty, or frayed clothing is unacceptable. Any clothing that has words, terms, or pictures that may be offensive to other employees is unacceptable. Clothing for the beach, yard work, dance clubs, exercise sessions and sports contests may not be appropriate at work.
Legal Requirements and Safety Regulations for a Dress Code
You can generally decide how you want your employees to look, with some very important exceptions. As mentioned above, the dress code must not discriminate. Men and women need to have similar standards.
It must also allow for reasonable religious accomodations. An employees religion may require her to keep her head covered or to wear a religious necklace.
A dress code might also contain special provisions in respect of the personal safety of the employee. Very long hair, for example, or long beards, might be prohibited on safety grounds.
Make sure that your company’s dress code is reasonable, fair and lawful, and non-discriminatory. It would be prudent to check with your attorney before implementing it as policy.
Mbatsani Africa and your Dress Code
At Mbatsani Africa we understand these dynamics intrinsically. We know how important it is that your people look good at all times. How they look conveys your mission, vision and value to the world, especially to your customers! Download an example dress code policy here. If you still need assistance, contact us to see how we can help you.