Dress Code Vs. Uniform: Which Fits Best For Your Business?

Branded Workwear

When you go out to a restaurant, you expect to see the staff in an easily identifiable uniform.  But you would not expect to see a group of office workers leaving a building to go out to lunch together in matching uniforms.  Uniforms are de rigour in some industries, and unheard of in others.  Dress codes occupy the middle ground between uniforms and unfettered personal expression.

A dress code can be as minimal and vague as simply saying that staff must be neat and tidy and wear appropriate office wear.  Other dress codes are extremely detailed and include the colours and fabrics that are acceptable workwear.  Should your company have a dress code or a uniform? How can you decide? What are the pros and cons of each?

The critical factor in deciding between uniforms or a dress code for staff is whether or not they are dealing with members of the public.  Do people need to identify staff quickly?  Are staff easily identifiable without a uniform?  If they are behind a counter or at a desk, then yes, customers can find them immediately and be confident that they are indeed staff members.

In that case, a dress code is adequate to distinguish who is on the staff.  But if your employees are out in an area mixing with the public, they do need to be identifiable.  And a uniform is an effective way to do that.  Whether it is a retail shop or a leisure venue, visitors need to know who is available to assist them.

Some jobs entail physical work that makes a uniform practical.  They might be messy jobs that no one wants to ruin their own clothes doing.  That includes everyone from an auto mechanic to a hairdresser. Or they might involve carrying a lot of small tools, so a uniform with multiple pockets or an apron with pockets would be helpful.  Most healthcare providers wear uniforms and aside from their practical benefits, they give patients a sense of security that they are dealing with a trained, qualified professional.

What Type of Work Uniform Is Right?

The primary goal is to make your staff identifiable to visitors, and a secondary goal is to promote your brand recognition.  When we think of work uniforms, we tend to think of police or fast food workers or hospital staff, but a work uniform can be a lot more flexible and stylish than those examples.  Workwear can be as simple as a polo shirt or t-shirt with your company’s name and logo worn with trousers of a specified type.  

Branded workwear is a very modern and comfortable type of uniform.  You can find options for all seasons and activities.  Your staff might be inside, outdoors or both, and you can find branded workwear to suit all temperatures and weather conditions.  You can also find branded work clothing ranging from casual t-shirts and hoodies to more formal oxford and bar shirts.  

One major advantage of branded workwear uniforms is that employees like it better than traditional work uniforms.  It’s more comfortable.  It also allows a degree of flexibility.  You can give staff a choice between different styles of hoodie, for example, and simply keep them all the same colour with your name and logo.  This satisfies their desire to express their own sense of style while still giving your staff a uniform and easily identified look.