Workplace dress codes - things to consider

June 05, 2023

At last, it seems the weather is changing, and summer is here, however with that the office attire may also change. Since the pandemic the workplace dress code may have shifted somewhat. How do you manage workplace dress codes when considering remote working, hybrid working and now the weather? Is it time to revisit your workplace policy on dress codes?

During the periods of remote working the dress code of many employees likely became more casual and now as many organisations have settled into a hybrid model, a refreshed dress code policy might be advisable, particularly as the temperature increases over the summer months.

A workplace dress code should reflect the working environment and outline what is appropriate attire. Some dress codes may be formal and therefore convey that particular company message and some may be more casual, reflecting a more relaxed environment. Whatever your dress code is, it should ultimately support your company values and culture.

During the Covid pandemic many workplaces relaxed their approach to workplace attire, and this may have remained in place, but now might be time to examine this.

Things to consider

If you operate a hybrid model, should you have two parts to the dress code, one for office and one for at home?

Should you have rules in place for employees when they are client/customer facing?

Prior to the pandemic there were many organisations that had a relaxed (jeans, t-shirts, runners) approach to the workplace and many who introduced a ‘casual day’. These were still referred to in a company dress code, and for those who encouraged a casual day, rules still applied.

Other areas to consider in a dress code are, hygiene, grooming, uniforms and how they must be worn and of course summer attire. When the summer season begins, unusually hot temperatures may lead to some employees disregarding the company policy. It is therefore advisable to re-visit your policy, make any necessary updates in light of remote/hybrid working and send a reminder of the company dress code and dos and don’ts of summer work attire.

Remember, you must inform employees following updates/ edits to your dress code policy. Circulate a copy to all employees via email and if you have an internal communication platform (intranet) signpost a notice to the updated policy.

There are no employment laws on dress codes, but companies should be mindful that they do not unintentionally discriminate on any of the nine grounds under equality legislation. Ultimately, it is good practice to review your company dress code policy and also to listen to employees concerns and feedback on work wear.

Sarah Colbert
Head of Business Networks