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Keep Summer Dress at the Beach: How to Create a Dress Policy For Your Company

Jul 10, 2008
With summer finally here, tank-tops and flip flops are coming out of closets and basking in the sun. However, some of these summer fashions also are making it to the workplace, causing trouble for company owners who want comfortable, happy employees as well as professional and safe attire. The solution to this problem: A dress policy.

Dress codes or policies may seem to stifle individuality and lead to tension in an office, but if done properly, such regulations can have the opposite effect. Dress codes ensure the happiness of the employer by helping the company shape its image and create a work-focused atmosphere rather than one of relaxing at home. Additionally, dress codes can hinder problems of sexual harassment by requiring modest dress and eliminate Worker's Compensation claims that arise from unsafe dress.

Employees also benefit from dress regulations as it takes the guess work out of getting dressed for the job. A team environment is created as all employees are dressing similarly, creating a feeling of unity within the office. Also, uniform dress codes can ease tensions caused by coworkers criticizing the dress of one another as too fancy or too sloppy.

When setting a dress code, an employer should keep in mind that there is no set policy for every company. Dress regulations vary depending on the type of workplace; a factory would require different attire than an office, for example. It is first important to recognize the specific safety, health or other requirements specific to each workplace and include these elements in the dress policy. Next, an employer should consider the location of the work environment, taking into account the weather as well as the style of dress for the region.

General regulations for an office environment include ruling out overly casual or revealing clothing such as mini skirts and see-through fabrics. A tie or suit jacket may be required for men depending on the office. Any regulations about piercings, tattoos, and hairstyles should be included in a dress code as well as any restrictions on perfumes and colognes. Finally, it may be necessary to have multiple dress codes tailored to different areas in the workplace. For example, a receptionist who deals with the public might be required to dress differently than the behind-the-scenes support staff.

When creating a dress policy, it also may be helpful to consult employees as well as customers about what they think is appropriate. Changes can always be made to a dress code, and allowing employee input will make the policy seem less restrictive. It also may be helpful to look at the dress policies of similar companies in order to create a new dress policy.

Once a dress code has been created, it is important to make all employees aware of the policy. It should be printed and given to each employee. It may be helpful to have each employee sign it, to prevent cries of ignorance in the future. Periodic reminders of the dress policy are helpful, especially at the onset of summer. These reminders can be in the form of a friendly email or a posting in the break room or other area where all employees will be able to view the reminder.

The most important factor in implementing a dress policy is for the employer to create an example by following the dress policy. If the boss is dressed according to the regulations, it is likely employees will be inclined to follow suit (no pun intended). There also should be enforcement of the dress policy, complete with disciplinary action for infractions.

Taking into account these factors, the creation of a dress policy should be easy and painless. Don't be shy about changing the policy if need be; just be sure to alert all employees to changes immediately. Taking employee opinions into account is key to making a dress policy work at your company. When the dress policy makes everyone happy, the company will run smoothly and efficiently while projecting an image of professionalism and unity.
About the Author
Melissa Mashtonio writes for Manta.com, the authority for finding 45 million free small to large company profiles worldwide-and their related industries and products. Manta's Small Business Center features thousands of how-to-guides for small business owners.
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