Why uniforms are still important in a changing workplace
Workplaces are changing at a phenomenal rate, moving from one dominated by structure and convention to a focus on collaboration and flexibility. The new workplace is about creating spaces that spark innovation and communication, a focus on team wellness and openness across a mix of full time, casual and flex hour employees.
Companies want to be perceived as on trend, embracing this change and as leaders and authorities in their field. A company uniform is an effective and cost-efficient way to shout out to the world and your team what your company is about, and is imperative to ensure your brand image is being correctly presented.
Today more than ever businesses are aware of the importance of a strong purpose and culture and its direct impact on staff morale, sales and performance. A company uniform defines what you are about as a business and ensures, regardless of whether customer facing or not, that your team is on exactly the same page. Team members will wake up each day and be reminded when getting dressed who they work for and what that represents. Are they excited and motivated to put on their uniform? Does it resonate with what your company stands for?
A great uniform reflects the changing market, exudes confidence, has a contemporary feel and inspires employees. Like any element of brand and marketing a uniform design and implementation needs to be well thought out and take into consideration the purpose, the practicality and the policy.
Uniforms should always reflect a company’s brand and purpose and ensure a client can relate to what the company is about through what the staff are wearing. Each employee is an individual and would therefore have an individual style but while at work they are a part of a company/team with a common purpose. Reflecting the culture and values of a brand through the uniform ensures a unified team with a strong image.
Depending on the client we often find there is either too much of a focus on the look and not enough on practicality, or vice versa. There is a significant difference between weekend wear and work wear and while uniforms need to be fashion forward, they also have to be functional and fit for purpose.
Tell the whole story from top to toe. If you spend time creating a look it needs to consider all factors. Will staff need a winter wear option? What trousers are they expected to wear? Is there a requirement for a cap or beanie? There is no point creating a fabulous shirt or polo only to have it covered up by a hot pink jumper that is off brand.
The devil is in the detail. Ensure there is a company uniform policy outlining dress standards. Should the shirt be worn tucked in our out? What type and colour shoes are acceptable? What is the jewellery policy? Unfortunately, common sense isn’t always common and when taking the time to create your team image through uniform it is even more important to follow that through with the detail of how it should or shouldn’t be worn.
There is without doubt a correlation between performance and dress. A lazy outfit equals lazy impression equals lazy output. Staff who take pride in their dress sense take pride in their work. An outfit can speak a thousand words and when repeated correctly by each employee, the message to clients and the public is priceless.
Pamela Jabbour is the founder and CEO of Total Image Group – uniform designer and manufacturer to some of Australia’s leading brands such as Dan Murphy’s and Fantastic Furniture. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and China, Total Image dresses over 250,000 Australians per day in their work wardrobe. Find out more at www.totalimagegroup.com.au.