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Developing a dress code

Q: How do you go about implementing or changing a dress code in the workplace?

A: Clothing speaks a language that is often over looked and disregarded. It is critical to learn the “message clothing conveys” before implementing a dress code. This will ensure the corporate image is in line with the dress code.

In the ever-changing workplace environment, we are seeing a shift away from casual dress back to business attire. However, with the diverse background of workforce, we are left in the position of having to define, in great detail, dress codes. This can lead to many issues and open an immense Pandora’s Box.

Before implementing a dress code you must define:
1. What is the corporate image?
2. Who represents that image?
3. Is the company in the position to supply a “uniform”? (Polo shirts with logos, Jackets with company logo, Coveralls with logo)
4. What is the attitude of the employees? Is there a sense of company pride or apathy?
5. How do the leadership and management present themselves? Is this in line with the image defined?
6. Have there been situations with poor choices in clothing already? If so, how was it handled?
Once the answers have been defined, then a dress code can be developed.
It is vital to have leadership and management in agreement and setting the standard for the new dress code and professionalism before it is implemented.

It is important to understand that a lot of employees today have not been taught nor have they grown up with a defined dress code and so we are in the unique position of teaching rather than dictating the acceptable workplace attire.

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