· Whether it’s because of the commute, too much air conditioning, not enough air conditioning, when the summer
months get into full swing the concept of appropriate work attire can often be pushed to the limit!
Let’s be honest no one wants the embarrassment of being the talk of the office because of something they choose to wear, and if we flip things around, I would suggest that no one wants to be the manager having to send someone home to change! Of course most situations will probably be solved with a quiet word but is there a way to avoid this awkwardness all together?
The place to start is a Dress Code Policy, and by this we mean simply a set of clear, sensible and to the point guidelines or a list of what goes and what doesn’t, set out in the code of conduct so that everyone is clear. And before you sigh at our advice to adopt yet another policy, remember that it can be short and sweet and that once it’s done it can be clearly and transparently applied consistently to all employees ensuring that the policy is fair to all.
Of course you may get some initial raised eyebrows but ultimately your staff will appreciate knowing where they stand and in most cases you will be able to justify why it is inappropriate to wear cut off hot pants to a meeting with a funder! And of course, as with everything, be reasonable! If you can relax a bit over summer (e.g. no ties for men in the office) then it is more likely that staff will stick to the code when it counts.
Many organisations do not have strict policies for time spent at the workplace but staff are expected to be in formal dress when they are attending meetings. We wouldn’t advise sacrificing this professional image for a quick win with staff but, more casual attire will no doubt be welcomed by your employees when the temperatures are rising and it is an added perk that will cost you nothing. Obviously much of what your relaxed dress code constitutes will depend on the type of work your employees are carrying out and who they are interacting with.
Summer is the perfect time to reiterate what your expectations are and if you want to banish flip flops then make that clear! This will avoid any misinterpretation and will ultimately protect your organisation. And trust me your staff will thank you for it!
Find out more about what we think at Real People by calling our helpline on 020 7710 0626 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org