Office Dress Code
What’s Appropriate?

Can I set the office dress code? Staff recently turned up in clothes that weren’t appropriate. And, if I can set it, what should the dress code be?

This depends on where the employee is working:

  • Are they in direct customer contact?
  • Or, are they hidden in the office?

Direct Customer Contact

As an employer, you do have the right to specify dress standards for employees who have direct customer/public contact. For other staff, it is not so clear cut.

Receptionists, Sales Execs and Service Technicians, for example, are physically representing your organisation. Your customers will certainly gain a “first impression” of your company based on how these employees present themselves.

As the employer, you definitely have a vested interest in ensuring that this first impression is not negative. Get the office dress code right in this instance.

  • Some organisations actually supply a uniform of some sort; to their technicians, for example. This solves the problem, of course.
  • Otherwise, employees who come face-to-face with your customers should be required to wear appropriate and professional clothing that leaves a good impression.

Part of this is also personal grooming. Even the most professional clothes can be cancelled out by the sloppy appearance of hair, face, nails, etc. If someone is going overboard (in the wrong direction) in this area, it is appropriate to point this out.

Hidden in the Office

All you can do here is lead by example. If you present a certain standard of dress, others will tend to follow.

If someone is dressing so outrageously that it is affecting the performance of others around them, have a quiet word to the offender and point this out. This includes over-revealing clothing that may distract others; both male and female…

Otherwise, just relax and enjoy it!

Particularly if the odd-dresser is producing results! After all, you want production in your unit. Performance management is king!

If your best producer happens to wear outrageous clothes, give them a break – they are, after all, getting the runs on the board! What does office dress code matter, in this instance? Check out the Top Performance article.


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