There are many advantages to startup culture but that doesn’t mean that as a Small Business owner that you should dismiss or ignore some of the policies of corporate culture. A dress code is one such policy that large companies institute, but does it make sense for your business? In this post, we will examine the pros and cons of instituting a dress code.
Pros: • Professionalism:
Implementing a dress code ensures that your company presents a professional image with vendors, suppliers and clients. While most startups prefer a more casual or business casual look, you could decide on which set of employees need a dress code based on their interactions and job roles.
It would make more sense to insist on a business formal dress code for those employees who come into contact with your clients the most. Others can have varying degrees of formalness based on their schedules and meetings.
• Less instances of inappropriate dressing:
With a dress code, employees are required to conform to a set of guidelines for their attire. This means that there will be less instances of what you or other employees deem inappropriate attire. While the general definition of what is “inappropriate” for the workplace may differ, a dress code concretely mandates what is acceptable and what is not.
While this might seem like it under cuts the uniqueness of your Small Business, a dress code can create visual uniformity in your organization and set it apart from the competition. Creating visual uniformity works to create a feeling of camaraderie and team work.
• Better Focus on Work:
Like uniforms in high schools, a dress code can take away from decisions on everyday attire, comments and gossip about co-workers. This will allow your employees to focus more on their work, instead of being distracted by their own and the wardrobe choices of those around them.
• Boost Morale:
While dress codes are often associated with drab corporate wear, a company specific dress code allows you to institute what is the industry standard for your company. You could plan fun, morale boosting activities around the dress code, recognizing those who make an extra effort and create an atmosphere of team spirit.
Cons: • Stifles Creativity:
The clothes people wear is often viewed as an extension of their personality. Their attire could be an expression of their sense of style or attitude. Most employees will resist the urge to enforce a dress code as they feel it interferes with their freedom as an individual and this in turn, affects their creativity and productivity of their work.
• Loss of Comfort:
Employees should be given the option to work in what is most comfortable to them. Here, you will have to draw the line with clear guidelines so the impression and image of your company is not adversely affected by sloppy dressing. As long as your employees are comfortable and presentable, there is no need to enforce a dress code.
• Company Branding:
Following the lead of larger companies, smaller ones too have begun giving their employees clothing like sweatshirts, t-shirts and caps with their branding. While, a casual dress code allows employees to wear these to work, you will soon find that they are prone to wearing this to social gatherings as well, giving your small business a good amount of free advertising.
• Influences Hiring:
Potential employees are often weary of offices that follow a strict formal dress code as they feel like these companies lack individuality. Hires could also be intimidated by the serious outlook it presents, especially if they are young are invested in being part of a vibrant startup culture. You could also give off the impression of being distant and inaccessible if you chose to institute a formal dress code.
While both the pros and cons should weigh on your decision, it is important to remember that a dress code that evolves organically with inputs and direction from you will be the best way to ensure that your business appears capable and a great place to work at.