Dress codes, this may be the most real evaluation you have ever seen for them. They can cover dress, tattoos, piercings, fingernails, hair on the head and face, footwear, etc., etc., etc. They are probably the most violated rules in most workplaces (followed by office theft of paper clips, rubber bands, and pens)—just on my own experience there. I have worked in places with dress codes that included uniforms all the way to no dress codes where they just want you covered. So let’s look at a few pros and cons of a few dress codes to consider for your real estate investment business or other business, whether you own it or just work there, and some insight (if you ever wondered about the point of view of someone who has worn pantsuits and sweats to work).
Uniforms first. These can be really easy on employees, because they know everyday what they are going to wear. This also gives your employees an established look, so customers can find help easily.* There are many businesses that you probably visit everyday that have a uniform policy in place. It is easy to look and find someone who can help you with whatever your needs may be when you get there. This is convenient for the customer and for the employee.
The problem with uniforms (these are only my experiences, so they may not apply everywhere) is that if your employee has to purchase these on their own, they will only get the bare minimum needed: two pairs of slacks and two shirts, for example. Working five days a week with eight-hour days, those uniforms have to be washed every other day. Now that doesn’t seem too hard to keep up with, but it can become that way. If a double shift happens and the employee forgets to throw it in the wash before they go to sleep for a couple of hours, then they have one of two choices: call in stinky, or come in stinky. I always hated to buy my own uniforms. It felt like I was paying the company to keep an image up that they wanted, and I had nothing to do with. I have always had a rebellious streak, though. Plus, when I was looking for a job, I needed money. I didn’t have the money to drop $80 on brand new clothes that would only cover two days.
Some employers go the distance and provide uniforms and cleaning services, but when the uniforms start to wear out, you have to let them know or risk getting that uniform taken out of your check for who knows how much.
I disagree with uniforms for the most part, depending on the business, especially not all uniforms the same color. Give some variety instead of having people in the same color, or two colors. It is boring. It doesn’t show much creativity, and to me it looks like you cared about everything else and placed all the product so nicely, but just threw something at your employees and were happy that it stuck.
Now a service that has employees who go to people’s homes, yes I totally agree with all matching uniforms. That would be a safety thing for the person who lives there and the employee. But do you honestly care if someone selling you gas is in a purple shirt, or a maroon shirt, or a blue shirt, or, or, or?
Business Casual next. This is typically preferred in office settings. My first question is, “Do your customers see these employees?” If the answer is yes, I believe that this is a great dress code to have. Not everyone looks the same, but all are nicely dressed, and look the part of an office employee. We happen to be in Texas, and blue jeans are typically not permitted in offices except on a casual day. My question is why? I have never understood it here. I have been told that they don’t look as nice as slacks. Well that is your opinion. I would rather see George Strait in blue jeans than in slacks. I have also never seen a more violated type of dress code than business casual. I’ve seen flip flops, yoga pants, sweat pants, t-shirts, tennis shoes, pajamas, Halloween costumes (maybe not), short dresses and skirts, low cut tops, etc. It is their opinion that they look business casual, or they just don’t get what that means. Then you see angry emails from management, because the mail-room girl has on a shirt that looks too close to a t-shirt, but they are unconcerned with the lady wearing a top so low, you can see she her belly button. My personal experience? It may or may not be :). There is no true way to enforce business casual if you have more than 25 employees. Just resign to making them wear uniforms. You may have a smelly office, but everyone will look the same and belly button lady will only be able to unbutton two buttons on her polo shirt.
This brings us to the last type of dress code to cover. No dress code! Yay! My favorite! Although it comes with a whole slew of risks as well. The first question here would be the same as for business casual. Do your customers see your employees? If the answer is no, I would make a guideline of all body parts being covered and the old saying, “Raise your arms, touch your toes. If anything shows, go change your clothes.” Now if the answer is yes, and your employees will interact with your customers, I would give some more guidelines. This also depends on the employees. Do you have a belly button woman working there, or someone who likes to wear t-shirts? My dress usually is comfortable. I like wearing shirts with 3/4 sleeves and long pants or capris. The one pair of shorts that I would wear up here are perpetually dirty, so it isn’t going to happen. Today, I am in a comfy T shirt, nice flip flops, and purple sweat type pants that are not baggy, but are not tight either. I have chronic back issues, so some days, this is as good as it gets, unfortunately. However, I still feel like I can talk to people dressed this way. My office looks similar to a living room, and I look like I am lounging in my house. These comfy clothes are also great on cleaning days because I am not going to worry over getting a $5 clearance pair of sweats dirty like I would a $25 pair of slacks. I am also dressed down in a way that it is easy to talk to me. I look like I could have just invited you for coffee. I am not in a stuffy suit, and don’t look like my attitude may not be the best. I am dressed as honest as it gets. Honesty is still so important and probably more so now than it ever has been because it has become a novelty.
The Hermit Haus View
We are investing our money in people, doing the most good, having fun everyday, and kicking the day’s butt. We are not concerned with how you look. We are concerned with your happiness. We are concerned with doing the most good where it counts. So no, I am not going to wear a bathing suit to work even in the summer, but I will probably fight to hang on to my sweatpants just as fiercely as I would for my stapler. What are your opinions about dress codes? Let me know below. You might just make me change my mind 🙂
*Note from Sue Ann: Don’t wear red shirts to a Target store unless you want to be asked a lot of questions. Also Sue Ann was in charge of photos and could not find another one of Mandi in her finery.