How strict should your dress code be?

Workplace attire is important for several reasons. It is meant to communicate to employees what the organization deems fit to wear to work. Besides public image, a dress code is also meant to protect you as well as those around you.

Several factors determine the dress code of an organization. Dress codes can be formal, informal, or include the use of uniforms. Depending on the work type or industry, employees may be required to strictly stick to a certain dress code.

So, Why Should The Dress Code Be Strictly Enforced In Some Industries?

In industries like construction and food service, the dress code is not just for looks but a matter of public safety and even increased productivity. In construction, for example, wearing proper attire to the site is extremely important. Many hazards exist in construction sites such as large machinery, flying, swinging and falling objects, exposed electrical wires, and many other examples. An example of something that should be strictly enforced when visiting a construction site is safety-toed footwear. Wearing shoes that expose your toes is dangerous as you may accidentally get injured if something heavy falls on your feet.

On the other hand, workers in the food service industry need to dress accordingly to avoid risking lives. In some companies, they may be required to change into work uniforms. Food is very sensitive, and a high level of hygiene is necessary. For example, employees working with exposed food without intact gloves may be restricted from wearing artificial nails or applying fingernail polish. Their natural nails may also need to be kept short at all times. The reluctance in observing the dressing code in such a sensitive industry can risk the staff and the public to illnesses.

Should Those Who Violate The Dress Code Face Consequences?

The simple answer is –Yes. Pamela Sande of HR@Work also agrees that following dress code guidelines are necessary and only flexible in certain industries.  Failing to adhere to the expected dress code in industries such as construction and food service should lead to dire consequences such as a warning letter or even a contract termination. A simple violation of the dressing code, such as not tying long hair while operating a construction machine with rotating plates, can cost one’s life if their hair gets stuck between them. Loose clothes when cooking can catch fire and lead to the loss of lives, among other losses.

The office dress code; a great case where the dress code can be flexible.

When it comes to office dressing, it is about comfort and confidence more than anything else. Office type work can be more flexible in their dress code if they choose because it does not jeopardize their safety or that of the public. This is a great perk especially if you are recruiting talent. Nevertheless, employees need to dress appropriately. Dressing properly helps them differentiate the work environment from their home environment. It is also important that their dress code does not distract their colleagues.

Research has shown that most employees think a strict dress code is not useful. They prefer that everyone gets the freedom to dress in their clothes of choice as that gives them the opportunity to be true to themselves and even creative. The freedom to adorn their preferred attire makes them feel comfortable in addition to adding them confidence. It is also more affordable as everyone will go for whatever they can afford.

In as much as the office dress code does not have to be that strict, there are still some exceptions. In places where one has to interact with clients, there is a need to dress officially. The way you dress greatly affects the way people perceive or treat you.