3 Strategies to Consider before Implementing Dress Codes

I just read an article about how businesses considering mandating dress codes for remote workers, and my head almost exploded.  Here’s why… 

Studies are showing that remote workers who are dressing down for work are showing dramatic decreases in productivity.  Management’s answer?  Mandate dress codes. 

This is indicative of the type of culture that causes high attrition rates; this us-vs.-them philosophy is costing businesses their best people.

Some people are as productive or even more so working from home than on site, no matter what they’re wearing.  A dictatorial approach to dress is not going to help that segment of the workforce. 

Worse, it may even *alienate* them. 

If not that, what?  How do you increase productivity in those people who are suffering? 

#1. Investigate. 

Determine if dress is a cause-effect issue or if it’s a symptom of a larger concern.  There’s a lot going on in the world right now (unprecedented stressors!) and depression rates are high. 

Are the PJs employees are wearing to web meetings causing lower productivity or are employees who are suffering from mild depression choosing to wear PJs? 

#2. Think small. 

Instead of corporation-wide mandates, have your team leaders and middle management determine what’s right for their sector.  The needs of the IT department are most likely different than customer service team needs because dramatically different personality types tend to fill those jobs.  Ideally, team leaders should be making these decisions with individuals.  A one-size-fits-all mandate is a disservice to the diversity of your employees. 

#3. Adopt a service mindset. 

How can you help struggling employees on a deeper level than wardrobe?  How much mental health support does your company provide?  How is your culture supporting them? Respect your employees.  Help them discover what works best for them. 

An intentionally created culture makes this process so much easier. 

Culture-based decisions are also more effective than decisions based solely on data. 

Culture matters in uncertain times more than ever!

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