Summer weather poses interesting challenges for employers. It's hot outside and your employees want to dress a little more relaxed. So crisp blouses give way to short sleeves, hemlines may get shorter and ties comes off to be replaced with more casual shirts.
Unless you work in an environment that requires uniforms of some sort, a formal dress code policy can be helpful particularly for summer months. While Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) has famously worn his jeans and hoodie with pride, you may have to remind employees that there are some general guidelines for office attire.
Even for professional services organization like a law or accounting firm where dress codes can be much more restrictive, summer weather can mean a "business casual" dresscode to the workplace. And, it doesn't take long to realize that "business casual' can mean many things to many people.
It's easier to have a policy in place rather than having an awkward conversation with an employee who arrives at work wearing an outfit that is absolutely unacceptable. Also, don't take for granted that your employees will intuitively know that wearing flip flops to work is not acceptable – if you want to avoid a problem, spell it out.
Creating a Dress Code Policy
You want to create a dress code that is consistent with your culture and your managers should lead by example and dress as you want your employees to dress.
Here is what a typical dress code policy might look like.
- No spaghetti straps, halter tops or tube tops
- No see through materials
- No shorts
- Skirts need to be mid thigh
- Sandals are fine but flip flops are not
- No shorts
- Shirts must be tucked in
- No T-shirts
Further, it's important to be consistent with your dress code. It must apply equally to all employees at all levels. Otherwise, you open yourself to lawsuit, especially where gender discrimination might come into play.
If you have been concerned about documenting your dress code policy, the law is actually on your side. While there is no federal law that governs dress codes, employers do have a lot of leeway in determining how employees should present themselves while on the job. Just about any rule is fine, as long as it doesn't violate laws against discrimination or harassment.
Ultimately, you want to remind your employees that you recognize that the weather is warm and you want them to be cool and comfortable. However, while they are working they must maintain a professional attire.
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