Uniforms in the work place

Uniform in the work place is a tricky issue for many employers. It has corporate and employee benefits, but some drawbacks too, and can be a difficult policy for modern employers to implement. Obviously the definition of the word itself brings to mind an absence of individuality, a uniformity of style, but can also present an image of solidarity and consistency, so has it’s negative and positive connotations. Is it something that would work for your company?

Uniforms in the forces for example for the most part have positive overtones, but depending on what your employees do, this may not be the image you wish to present. In the service industry, uniforms are helpful as they clearly identify employees to customers and make them more approachable. The also serve to promote the company by showing how many staff members there are, advertising corporate identity and giving employees a sense of solidarity and belonging, as well as a common purpose, which is why they are also so useful in the armed forces. It is also means that the employee can save time and energy as well economically, by not having to find suitable work wear. Having a uniform means no decision about what to wear, no worrying about buying new work clothes and no pressure to conform to fashions.
Of course there is also the idea that a uniform removes individuality and can in some ways have a detrimental affect on how customers perceive a business. As car sales environment in which all the salespeople are properly suited and very smart, for example, probably has a very different image to one where all the staff are in corporate logo’d polo shirts, and for some businesses, this is not an image they would like to present.

Rather than full uniforms, you could also offer a halfway solution. You can provide company branded shirts of t shorts for example, as a perk or for special events. There are also corporate clothing companies who will create for you the basis of a uniform, such a shirt designed to be regular work wear, but with a subtle logo and some sense of individuality which can be worn with other items so as not to completely strip the wearer of any personality. A good idea before deciding which way to go is to talk to your employees and see how they actually feel about the issue, and take it from there.