How Do Corporate Uniforms Affect Employee Morale?

Posted on: 20 October 2015

Corporate uniforms may be a no-brainer benefit for businesses, helping boost branding as part of the company's marketing strategy. However, they may have variable effects on your employees. Although many enjoy or can at least tolerate wearing company clothes, others find this a less pleasant experience. How does a uniform affect the people who have to wear it?

The Positive Effects of Uniforms

Corporate clothes can boost employee engagement with the company, making them feel part of a team rather than just an individual worker. This may make them feel better about their jobs and encourage them to work harder. Plus, if everyone in the company wears the same uniform, this may also reduce status issues. Even if there is a clear rank and responsibility distinction in the workplace, employees may feel more equal if everyone wears the same clothes. They may simply feel better about their jobs.

Uniforms can also help employees out financially and may be perceived as a company benefit. If an employer provides clothes that people have to wear to work every day, the employees don't have to worry about buying clothes suitable for work. This saves them money and may also reduce anxiety issues about finding appropriate clothes for the workplace.

The Negative Effects of Uniforms

Some employees may not like being told what to wear; they may find that a work uniform represses their individuality. Rather than making them feel a greater part of the company, they may feel alienated and uncomfortable.

Sometimes, employees don't mind the concept of a uniform but dislike the execution of it. If a company doesn't put enough thought into appropriate clothing, employees may feel uncomfortable. For example, choosing a skinny fit polo shirt may suit slim employees but not those who carry a little more weight. This may affect their working day, as they won't feel good about themselves if they are self-conscious about the way they look.

Uniform Tips

Companies that are considering introducing corporate uniforms may find that their employees accept them more readily if they follow some of these planning tips:

  • Involve a working party of employees in the planning and design process. It's important to have people who will actually wear the clothes help make decisions. This ensures that the uniform is fit for the purpose and may also make other employees feel that their views were represented by their peers.
  • Consider all employees when choosing a uniform design. People come in all shapes and sizes, and it's important to find that sweet spot between what the company wants and what employees are happy to wear.
  • Think about giving employees a few different options to choose from. This may make people who want input into what they wear feel a little better. For example, a company could produce a few different t-shirt styles and allow employees to choose the one they prefer.

Corporate uniforms can benefit your business, but you have to make sure your employees are comfortable with them instead of seeing them as a burden. 

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