How to Create & Implement a Dress Code for Your Workplace

 In Employees, Human Resources

There’s no reason for a call center employee to wear a full suit, and on the flip side, a lawyer shouldn’t show up to work in flip-flops…

The term “dress code” may not seem obvious in terms of the workplace, but dress codes are quite common in the professional world . If you are a small-business owner, you may not have thought about establishing a dress code amidst all the other responsibilities and tasks that come with starting a business. However, it’s important that you set one to ensure the positive progression of your company’s image, both within your industry and in the eyes of customers.

But where do you start? Here’s a basic guide to establishing your dress code:

Consider Your Business

The first step is to consider the industry you’re serving and what type of attire is generally accepted. There’s no reason for a call center employee to wear a full suit, and on the flip side, a lawyer shouldn’t show up to work in flip-flops. The key factor is the degree of face-to-face interaction your business has with customers or the general public. If you have clients or visitors stopping by your offices frequently, your dress code becomes much more important than is the case for businesses with employees who are generally confined to their own internal team. You should also keep in mind safety, morale and overall comfort.

Consider the Law

You have a lot of freedom to set your policy to whatever you feel is necessary for your business to succeed, but there are a few laws to be aware of. For example, you are required to accommodate reasonable requests having to do with religious beliefs. You must also accommodate employees with disabilities, and avoid any rules that could be considered as gender discrimination.

Create the Policy

Just because you have a dress code in mind doesn’t mean it’s time to enforce it. You must first write up a clear policy to include in your employee handbook and distribute it to your workers. Be sure to address probable questions, outline exceptions and provide clear examples. This document will likely be longer than you think by the time you cover all the details.

Introduce the Policy and Set an Effective Date

Once you’re ready to implement your dress code, call a company meeting to present it to your employees. Set a date on which the dress code will take effect, and open the floor to discussion. This will allow your employees to plan for the new policy and adjust their wardrobes accordingly.

Enforce the Dress Code

If you’re making any drastic changes, you will likely have to remind an employee here and there that the dress code has changed. While enforcing your dress code, it’s best to set varying levels. For example: a first offense will call for a verbal warning, a second offense will require the employee to go home for the day and forfeit their pay for hours missed, a third offense will trigger written documentation and so on. Be reasonable, and don’t turn the dress code into an argument regarding style. Either an outfit falls within the dress code or it doesn’t.

For more HR tips, check out our blog.

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