Casual Workwear Vs Formal Uniform

office casual workwear vs formal uniform company dress code

It's clear that 2020 will be the year that businesses promote individuality. It’s no secret that many corporate businesses have applied a ‘business casual’ clothing policy, but is this a good idea? The move has sparked discussion amongst business owners as to whether corporate wear or smart casual is better for business. In today’s competitive market, brand image is everything and first impressions count. With this in mind, should companies move towards a more casual clothing policy, or is it best to stick with traditional dress codes? 

Brand Image And Public Perception 

As competition on the high-street continues to be an issue, brands are focusing on public perception. With reports suggesting that the high-street is experiencing a dramatic decline, stores are trying to become more innovative to improve customer and staff retention. Uniforms have recently become a big focus for many businesses. To connect with customers on a personal level, more organisations are allowing employees to ‘dress-down’, to encourage uniqueness and to show shoppers that they’re able to adapt with the times. 

If you’re a fan of Starbucks coffee, you may have noticed that the chain has relaxed its workwear regulations. Previously, baristas would wear buttoned-up black or white shirts and black or khaki pants, accompanied with their signature green apron. But now, rules have become lax surrounding what they’re allowed to wear beneath the apron. 

The Starbucks employee look book states that baristas can wear black, white, grey, navy and brown shirts as a solid or for a subdued, small-print, low-contrast pattern. However, sweatshirts, hooded shirts, cap-sleeve and short-sleeve V-neck or T-necks are forbidden. Although you may remember some baristas wearing caps with a Starbucks logo, their options have now varied too, with flat caps, trilby hats and beanies becoming an option. Employees are also allowed to wear scarves, but they must be tucked behind their apron! 

Does Dressing Down Pose A Threat To Business? 

Younger generations may prefer to dress in casual clothing for work, but it can pose a number of problems for brands. Brands that have adopted the casual-clothing idea are seemingly allowing their staff to wear their own clothes that fit specific style/colour requirements at work, which could have a negative impact on their productivity, duties and other colleagues. 

Your staff won’t fully understand what materials and styles work well for different jobs. If your staff decide to wear a tight material, this could prevent them from reaching up to a shelf for example — the limitations an item of clothing has on their abilities will be the last thing on their mind. Getting rid of uniforms also reduces the customers’ ability to identify employees. Tailored uniforms and name badges make your staff instantly recognizable. 

That doesn’t mean to say that staff should be banned from dressing down, but companies should consider the process carefully. With technology and design opportunities advancing at a rapid rate, uniform providers are now able to facilitate any requirements when it comes to corporate workwear — whether you opt for professional or a more relaxed style of attire. By opting for a professional service, you’ll won’t have to worry about design regulations that are required for your working environment that have been set out by governing bodies; as the responsibility will fall with them. 

It’s important to strike a balance between something that is practical with something that your staff feel proud to wear and feel like they’re part of something greater. 

Investing In The Future 

Uniforms are an investment in the future, not just an additional expense. Not only will uniforms allow you to stay within workwear regulations, it will also reduce the time you spend monitoring clothing if staff do choose to wear their own styles for work. From an employee perspective though, while the idea of wearing their own clothes to work might be nice initially, it could become a burden as other expenses come into play. This could include rent, groceries as well as general clothing. If they have the responsibility to also purchase suitable workwear, this will be another deducting factor that comes out of their wage. 

Implementing a uniform creates a stronger brand image, but it should also be comfortable enough for the workplace. Have you considered your options when it comes to your employee dress code?

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