It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy! A little too easy sometimes; all that sunshine and warm weather leads to bare skin and skimpy clothing. This is fine for the beach, but not so much in an office setting – especially when patients and other customers visit. Inappropriate attire is distracting to other employees and doesn’t project that professional image you are striving for.
Striking a balance is key! In order to spare employees from potential embarrassment and ensure everybody is dressed in an appropriate manner, it’s best to adopt a summer dress code before the temperature climbs and the halter tops come out. Here are some tips for your office.
Tips for Adopting a Summer Dress Code
Cracking down on office attire doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate casual clothing. The key is to address only those items deemed inappropriate for your particular setting. This will vary depending on your location and corporate attitude, of course. In general, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Do you have a current policy in writing? If not, put something together. Employees are not mind readers; spell out exactly what is expected and provide examples in order to eliminate confusion. Add this to your employee manual and make it easily accessible.
- Determine your office’s specific needs. The definition of casual attire differs between companies. Decide in advance what that means exactly for your office; be sure to consider your patient interactions and adopt a look that makes sense for your practice.
- Be specific. Don’t make your employees guess – let them know exactly what is expected. You might allow skirts but insist upon a minimum length or give the okay to t-shirts so long as they don’t contain inappropriate graphics or language. If sandals are allowed, can they be open-toed? How about flip-flops? Be as specific as possible in order to eliminate confusion.
- Send out reminders. When summer rolls around, thoughts often turn to vacations and outdoor activities. Because the employee manual isn’t always front and center in everybody’s mind, send out an email reminder addressing acceptable summer attire for the office.
- Be flexible. Customs change, and today’s fashion don’ts can become tomorrow’s fashion dos. Allow your employees to provide input and keep an open mind. Your corporate dress code isn’t written in stone, after all!
- But not too Certain items are never appropriate office attire. No matter how casual your practice, it’s best to shy away from baseball caps, miniskirts, bared midriffs, dresses displaying cleavage, short shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, and untucked shirts.