How to Implement an Office Dress Code

From coast to coast and country to country, dress codes in companies and offices are all over the place. What one company deems inappropriate attire may be the norm somewhere else. On top of that, different occupations require different attire and dress codes. An engineer working for General Electric will likely have to adhere to a different dress code than the receptionist sitting at the desk in the same building working for the same company. Whatever dress code you set for your company and employees, the important thing is that it is clear to all and implemented properly. Take a look at some of these tips on how to set and implement an office dress code.

First things first, as the employer of your company or manager of your department you need ask yourself if a dress code is necessary for your business. If it is, then you should figure out what kind of dress code will be appropriate and acceptable for the kind of business you do. You can start by talking to your employees and seeing what they think. Do they have any input on what kind of dress code you should implement? Of course they do- they are going to be working there day after day, week after week and will appreciate the fact that you are asking them for their input. Plus, by asking for their insight it will be much more likely that they will accept and easily go along with whatever office dress code you decide to implement.

Deciding what kind of dress code you want in your office depends on what kind of business you do and if you interact with customers or clients. If you are interacting with important clients on a day to day, or even week to week, basis then you will probably want to keep your office dress code business casual or formal, depending on what you want. A casual dress code in this case could give your company a bad image- whether you think so or not. People will judge your company by your employees attire, so decide carefully.

You can’t just assume that everyone in your office knows what kind of attire is professional and what is not. You may know, but you’d be surprised to see what some of your employees roll into the office in if you don’t have clearly set regulations. In my own opinion, even in a casual office dress code, flip flops are off limits and so are stretch pants/leggings. Sweatpants should be a no-brainer, but without setting a list of no-no’s, one or a few of your employees will strut into the office wearing these offensive office garments. Fact. Set an office dress code, be clear about what is not allowed and make sure everyone has access to this information.

The biggest and most important part of implementing an office dress code is actually enforcing it. You can cry business casual all you want, but when Susie walks into the office wearing ripped jeans and flip flops and no one says anything to her, she’ll likely come into the office looking like that again. What’s more, John noticed that she got away with it and starts wearing flip flops too. Before you know it, your office looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial: cheesy, unprofessional and juvenile. Make sure you enforce that office dress code you set and give out warnings or consequences for those that break it. Consistency is key here.

So you see, it’s all dependent on what kind of image you want to portray to outsiders and what kind of business your company does. A casual dress code may be just fine for your company, but it’s likely that some restrictions will have to be set. Either way, enforcing whatever office dress code you set is key.

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