What are the benefits of wearing work uniforms?
Work uniforms and business dress code has come a long way and uniform policies within working environments are much more relaxed than they used to be. With the evolution of ‘business casual,’ the traditional types of uniform are becoming less and less common and companies are adopting a more relaxed workwear policy to keep up with contemporary trends and being seen as up and coming.
Although business casual can have its benefits and potentially appear more attractive to new employees, having professional uniforms for work has its many benefits and is a great option for boosting your business branding. What are the benefits of wearing work uniforms? From creating brand awareness, promoting company loyalty and team building, to creating a professional brand image, employee protection and eliminating any dress code dilemmas at your work, there are many benefits behind uniforms.
This in-depth guide has been designed to outline the key benefits behind wearing work uniforms and answer any queries you might have whether it’s on an entrepreneur, individual or maybe even a recruitment or research basis. Depending on what industry your business is in, having a professional uniform can really help to boost your branding and enhance the unity of your work team. This guide talks through the benefits as well as some psychology behind uniforms for work and what it might mean for your business. The guide also includes a cool infographic which shows some jobs that require uniform and the power that uniform can have.
Creates brand awareness with company uniforms
In many cases, uniform is often used as a way of advertising a business and increasing brand awareness. This can be the case for both small businesses which are only just starting out to large and successful businesses who are well recognised for their branding. Especially relevant for start-up companies, marketing through uniform is a way of getting a brand out there and getting employees to also increase brand awareness. It’s also great for the opposite end of the scale as well, where businesses like Apple can help customers to feel welcome and secure with the service they’re providing. Could you recognise the iconic red colour of the Royal Mail uniform and the vivid green of the Asda uniform?
Not only is this relevant for company uniforms but it’s also relevant for social uniforms as well. A social uniform won’t be as strict as corporate uniforms, but the message and purpose can still be very similar. For example, quite often at a hen party the hens will be representing the bride-to-be in some form and therefore marketing the bride in quite a subtle way. You might be competing in a sports event where you want to promote your local sports club, maybe doing something for charity where you want to let people know which charity you’re representing, or it might even be a corporate but social event where the brand can still be represented when the team is having a day away from the office.
Uniforms for corporate branding
The effect that corporate branding can have on a business is incredible and business uniforms play a huge part towards that branding. An established brand becomes recognisable to customers and provides them with trust which can create company loyalty.
A corporate identity can be created through the visual design, logo and messaging of the business in various formats and marketing. Customers will connect through that corporate identity and they can make an instant connection to a company if the branding is reflected within the company uniform. Having a company-wide uniform can result in customers seeing the brand at every point of interaction and promoting the brand at every available opportunity.
Promote your company or brand
Some businesses like to invest in workwear to help build the corporate and brand image. When it comes to marketing through your uniform, branded work clothing can help keep staff looking professional and presentable to both management and to the public. It doesn’t necessarily have to be overpowering to customers though, it could be a subtle use of branding to promote your company.
The business logo, brand colours and employee names included on work clothing can transform your staff into moving advertisements. It doesn’t have to be a full outfit necessarily though, as a branded t-shirt or polo shirt, apron for the food industry or even a cap with the business logo on can often be just as powerful as a head-to-toe uniform.
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Creates a professional business image
There’s an element to dressing for work that can cause concern within businesses for their employees not looking professional enough and not sending the right impression across to both management and to customers. Professional uniforms can eliminate this issue altogether and provide a simple solution for all employees looking presentable on a daily basis.
There’s also an element of professional uniforms being appropriate for the job that employees are performing at work. If the uniform is up to (or above) standard, then an employee will feel professional and therefore exude professionalism. For example, a chef’s uniform should be smart and look fresh (for food hygiene reasons) so white is the ideal colour to resemble freshness and cleanliness.
Someone working in retail might still need to look smart in a uniform (perhaps a shirt) but they also might not feel very appropriate if they wear something too smart and as if they’re going to a business meeting. Not only are employees dressed in uniform often perceived as professional but also perceived as better trained as well.
Creating a consistent appearance is one of the main benefits to a professional business uniform. It works on both an individual basis as well as a group basis. It can help to create a consistent appearance amongst a group of employees, where everyone feels equal and nobody is either dressed overly smart or overly casual. There may very well be a hierarchy of uniform at your company, where management have a different uniform to non-management but at least everyone in that hierarchy will be dressed the same.
On an individual level, it helps to create a consistent appearance for someone who might struggle to dress smartly or choose what to wear in the morning. It will also eliminate any issues of an individual dressing inappropriately for the job.
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Promotes company pride and loyalty
When it comes to company uniforms, it’s important to implement a uniform that employees can be proud to wear and will also enjoy wearing on a regular basis. Dress codes can help to establish which clothing is appropriate to wear but a company won’t usually provide the clothing itself and therefore the overall look can look a bit mismatched and not very consistent for branding.
A uniform policy is where the company usually provide the clothing and which will help employees to feel like they’re representing the business they work for and promote business loyalty. If employees look professional then they will hopefully feel professional and more confident in their work. It can depend on what industry your business is in and how you’re trying to present your business team though, for example in an office environment, dress codes can become a bit blurry and it really depends on your desired brand image to whether you opt for corporate uniforms or not.
Whatever industry you’re in, you’ll need to take into account the needs of your employees and remember that you won’t be able to please everyone. If you do become faced with complaints or suggestions, it’s a good idea to highlight the benefits of the change whilst also understanding their viewpoint and taking any of those complaints on board for future uniforms for work.
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Promotes employee security
As well as creating a professional image, enhancing branding and promoting company pride, employee uniforms are mostly designed to protect workers and to comply with health and safety regulations in the working environment. Certain jobs require a uniform to meet industry standards and to ensure the protection of their employees and improve security.
This is particularly evident within the services industry where jobs such as construction, healthcare, security, police and the military require work uniforms with both authority and function. Many of these uniforms require specialist technologies and fabrics, such as the fire department, for their employees to be able to perform their job in the right clothing. Some jobs also require specific accessories, which might form part of a uniform, such as helmets for construction, aprons for chefs, and hair nets or caps for the food industry.
So when it comes to work uniforms, whether you’ve already got them in place or thinking about implementing a uniform, there are many considerations to take on board when it comes to promoting employee security and safety.
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Promotes team building and unity
There’s a reason that many of the biggest sports teams in the world have an iconic team uniform which is mainly down to branding, professional image and building a unified image of a team. Wearing a uniform, whether it’s for work, sports, school or for social activities, can really help promote team spirit and help wearers to feel part of a specialist group. Just like a hen party group on a night out wearing customised t-shirts or bridal sashes, incorporating work uniforms into your business can help to build team spirit, boost morale and is often the key to successful teamwork.
As well as creating unity within a group, wearing a uniform can also help to promote equality as all wearers will be dressed the same which will result in employees feeling equal to one another, once again reinforcing team spirit. So from a fun uniform designed for a corporate team building day, clothing designed for a social event and sports uniforms, to everyday workwear, customised t-shirts for office workwear, or those that work in customer services like retail and Airlines, wearing a uniform really can bring your team together whoever they are.
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Casual office wear vs work uniforms
Although this guide outlines many benefits of wearing work uniforms, there are some industries and environments where uniform could have a negative reaction and actually impact the brand image in a negative way if not done correctly, especially without any proper research. These environments might include office environments, creative studios and even retail jobs. As mentioned earlier, the term ‘business casual’ has become increasingly popular and for good reason as well.
It’s not always the case but in many office environments, employees are quite often not customer-facing and therefore it can be argued that appearance and dressing for work can be a bit more relaxed. Especially in creative industries, the traditional types of uniform are certainly not favoured as the uniform can actually dampen an employee’s uniqueness and individuality. In a creative environment, wearing a uniform will most likely result in an employee not feeling like themselves, if they’re not allowed to wear their own clothes.
This could also be the case in a retail environment, where employees would feel more comfortable wearing the clothes being sold in the shop rather than a proper uniform per se. In these circumstances, it’s often best to inflict a dress code rather than a full uniform, so that colleagues are still dressing appropriately but allowed to do it with their own style.
Dress code in the work place
Dress code in the work place is a great way of inflicting some kind of dressing rules without having to inflict a strict uniform. It’s a great middle ground between both the employer’s and the employee’s needs and is particularly ideal for office environments, where a customer-facing uniform isn’t quite as relevant. A dress code policy can be a set of rules to encourage staff to look their best and present themselves as professional without having to tell them what they have to wear on a daily basis.
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Dressing for success
Your clothing really does affect how you act and feel. Trainers put you in the mood to exercise, pyjamas make you feel ready for bed, high heels make you feel glamorous and ready to dance the night away, and a suit and tie will put you into professional mode. Dressing for success is all about psychology, when you feel good and confident in the clothes you’re wearing then you will exude confidence in your personality and mannerisms both in yourself and towards other people.
When it comes to workwear clothing and the possibility of opting for a uniform for your business, it’s crucial to gauge what your employees want and to give them options, especially if it’s a uniform that they’ll be wearing on a daily basis and in specific circumstances. An employee who feels stylish and appropriately dressed for the situation that they’re in will help to promote confidence and support.
Uniform can therefore play an important role in dressing for success by creating business clothing that meets both the wearer’s and the business’s criteria. This will vary quite dramatically with different industries though. For example, an air hostess uniform needs to make the wearer feel presentable and smart, a police uniform needs to make the wearer feel authoritative and protected, and a sports uniform needs to make the wearer feel comfortable and proud of the team that they’re representing.
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Jobs that require uniforms
In a variety of industries and environments, uniforms can have an incredible power of inflicting a specific message, emotion, equality or brand identity. There are some circumstances where uniform is required whether it’s to promote authority, cleanliness, protection, professionalism or for branding purposes.
The power of uniform (Infographic)