Dress Codes in the Workplace


Warmer weather often brings more relaxed dress codes — that’s if your agency hasn’t already adopted a more relaxed dress code year-round. According to a 2016 Employee Benefits Survey by the Society of Human Resource Management, 83% of firms have casual dress. Of course, what constitutes casual dress can vary considerably. Regardless of where your agency is on the work attire spectrum, managing dress code issues can be dicey.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Have a policy
    A policy communicates what is expected. If you haven’t communicated what’s expected, it’s hard to hold people accountable. Be careful with the policy to make sure it reflects legitimate business needs and is enforced fairly to avoid getting crosswise with the EEOC.
  • Consider customer impact
    Consider the significance of employee attire on brand perception, staff credibility and customer relatability.
  • Consider employee impact
    While studies show there is a correlation between dress codes and employee morale and productivity, there is no consensus on whether it’s positive or negative. That’s probably because it depends on other engagement and productivity factors. Ask employees what they think or put together an employee task force.

Additional resources and sources:

  • Dress Codes and Grooming Standards from “Especially for Texas Employees” published by TWC
  • Toolkit from the Society of Human Resource Management (subscription required.)
  • Fact Sheet on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities
  • How to Give an Employee Feedback about Their Appearance
  • How Does Workplace Attire Affect Productivity?
  • IIAT’s The Engagement Factor Study
This entry was posted in human resources, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Dress Codes in the Workplace

  1. Carol McQueary says:

    I like the visual chart – but would like to see the same categories shown for women.


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