Whilst some policy choices in the UK have recently been brought into question for seeming archaic and sexist, the decision to create or review your current workwear policy could well have landed on your desk. Whether a note from your manager or something you feel really needs to be looked at in 2018 - it's easy to see why people avoid enforcing workwear policies. That being said, if done correctly, a solid policy can have an incredibly positive impact on your working week as well as your team's morale, productivity and overall happiness.
Done properly, a workwear policy can be a powerful document that works for every member of your organisation and guides everyone fairly towards an agreement. If you're trying to sell the idea of a policy to your team or still need a little convincing yourself, then you're in the right place!
This blog runs through some of the key benefits, which are:
Reduction in confusion for staff Clarity and guidance, available 24/7 It sets company-wide expectations It highlights non-commital staff & gauges employee attitudes
To note: this blog will discuss workwear guidelines, not uniform rules. The difference between the two is noted below:
Uniform Policy: outlines how company provided clothing should be worn, maintained and what the procedure is for replacements, updates and violations.
Workwear Policy: a holistic outline of clothing requirements in the workplace. May extend to colours and cuts for head office staff, but would be more specific for on-site staff and would consider safety ratings and potentially brands (for trusted PPE items).
All clear? Great. Now onto the benefits.
1) No confusion for staff
Quite simply - creating a concise document that details the specifics on required workwear is going to be helpful and reduce confusion.
It's most likely one of the main reasons you're thinking about creating or updating a policy. Without a documented agreement, your team will need to ask questions or risk investing in clothing that you deem inappropriate.
This is going to be a less severe issue for office staff, but can be absolutely vital for a team that works in a construction environment, for example. Moreover, for off-site teams that run into the tens and even hundreds - without clarity, leaving outdoor workwear decisions to the individual will return a wide-ranging set of results which could compromise your regulatory standing.
TIP: Take a look at our guide to outdoor workwear for everything you need to get your team kitted appropriately.
2) Clear guidance available, at any time
If you're working in a head office role, managing the policies for your team but also those in a bigger space such as a warehouse. Along with factory or mobile teams who work in outdoor environments, there is no way you will be available to respond to policy queries consistently.
By creating this policy, you'll reduce the HR headache of responding to the same question over and over (your policy could include an FAQ section, for example) leaving you free to deal with more pressing personnel tasks...lucky you!
But less about you - proper guidance will allow you to fairly direct employees toward certain types of clothing without forcing anyone to wear something they are not comfortable with. This ranged suggestion will ultimately give employees more choice, leading to a feeling of empowerment and increased motivation.
This also plays to your advantage should you receive any complaints, as these can be directly referenced against your policy rather than your own personal opinion or that of the management team.
3) Sets expectations
Expectation setting is an incredibly important part of any role, but especially for someone involved in employee hiring, retention and happiness.
A workwear policy clearly defines what your organisation expects from employees, on paper. It can be regularly referenced and provided to staff at regular intervals as well as new starters.
This goes for both office and on-site teams. Expectations can be for branding reasons but also tied closely to PPE regulations and safety requirements. As we've previously mentioned, you're not going to be able to sit down with every member of staff and run through what the company requires. A policy is going to act like another member of your team.
4) Helps spot people who aren't team players
Following on from the above point. By setting expectations and clearly (and fairly) communicating these to everyone, you will quickly recognise individuals who either do not agree with the policy you have drawn up, or disagree with the idea of any policy at all.
This effectively draws a line in the sand for team members. You'll want to build and maintain a team of motivated individuals who believe in the company and what you are trying to achieve. By using a policy such as this as a tool for feedback, you may be able to highlight people who aren't buying in to the company culture.
A policy document will also help make disciplinaries easier as violations will be tangible post-implementation.
That being said, disagreements and questions about your policy are not off limits. Constructive feedback should be encouraged as this may result in a better policy overall.
Start your policy documentation today (with our free templates)
Creating any policy is no mean feat. We've created some handy uniform policy templates which work just as well for a workwear policy. The pack includes an example policy letter you can use, a policy document as well as a customisable questionnaire you can send out to your team. Take a look at them here or click the link below.