Do you ever wonder what you should wear to work? It is not an easy task in today’s business world. The days of requiring men to wear suits/ties and women in skirts suits with hosiery are gone; and I expect for good. That shouldn’t mean anything goes or that it doesn’t matter what people wear at work. It does. What employees wear is a direct reflection of them and it is their responsibility to look respectable. Likewise, when an employer dictates what employees must wear (or not wear), it is a reflection of the company culture.
Casual dress at offices is now widely accepted. It certainly seems silly for employers to impose unnecessary dress code requirements. I ran across this post on KNOWHR and the associated comments (warning some of them are not censored). I agree with pressing HR and management regarding unnecessary dress code requirements but I couldn’t forget the days at a former employer when we started casual Fridays (jeans). As in every other organization I have been in, some employees pushed the limits or just ignored the dress code all together. Some employees started wearing inappropriate clothing such as graphic tees, flip-flops and tank tops. The environment was a customer support office so there was no excuse of getting dirty or working in extreme heat.
Some may ask “Who cares?” I DO! It is not professional to wear flip-flops, tank tops, tee shirts and short shorts to work. I do not want to look at or smell your ugly, stinky feet, or read some silly joke or adult innuendo on your tee shirt and most certainly I don’t want to see any part of your butt, shoulders, breasts or stomach.
I logically understand the IT guy who is saying “Why does it matter if I wear sandals, shorts and tee shirts to work when all I do is programming?” But the reality is that he is part of a larger community of professionals and some basic dress standards are helpful. I did say PROFESSIONALS and while I don’t think a tie should be required, being a beach bum or a slob is not appropriate for any office environment.
So I say “YES!” to a dress code. As an employer you will have defined your expectations and that is always good. However, I caution you to be reasonable, focus on what is necessary to perform jobs and what is considered as main-stream decent and appropriate in the workplace.