This week has seen temperatures well exceeding 30 degrees, which to be honest is fairly rare in good old blighty. Non the less, for many workers the heat has been unbearable, in particular in offices and on public transport.
The Workplace Regulations state that an employer must maintain a reasonable temperature but it does not specify a maximum temperature and that can lead to people being in offices that feel more like the heat you would experience on a beach in Dubai than at work, only without the cocktail bar and swimming pool!
So it is really important that at times like this, companies help their employee’s feel as comfortable as possible and part of that it ensuring staff know what they can and can’t wear in the office. In fact it is times like this that a company’s dress code policy should exist!
Before I continue though, I would perhaps use this week as an example of when you may wish to relax the dress code, such as allowing men to do away with the jacket and tie, you can still look smart without them.
I agree that it is perhaps easier for a woman to dress for work in the heat, a short sleeve dress can still look professional, but there are people out there that just don’t know where to draw the line, and you need to ensure that “beach vibe” doesn’t creep into the workplace; unless of course you are happy with hot pants and strings vests all over the place!
The corporate world still often requires very much a “business dress” code to be followed, but if it is not part of your company handbook as a policy, employees don’t really know where they stand.
So if you don’t want people turning up to work in crop tops, hot pants and flip flops then be sure to put it in writing. Here are some key points to remember when putting together your dress code policy:
- Avoid unlawful discrimination in any dress code policy.
- Employers may have health and safety reasons for having certain standards.
- Dress codes must apply to both men and women equally, although they may have different requirements.
- Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled people when dress codes are in place.
Your dress code policy should always be reasonable and relate to the job, for example employees may be required to tie their hair back or wear a head cover for hygiene reasons if working in a kitchen.
As we have mentioned, the policy must be non-discriminatory and apply to both men and women, however, the requirements may be different i.e. you might state “business dress” for women but more specifically state “must wear a tie” for men, again it would be worth relaxing this on days where temperatures hit the high twenties (just be specific!).
It is always good to remember the reasoning behind your decisions in regards to the dress code policy you put in place, after all, if an employee does not comply with the standards contained within it, it may result in disciplinary action.
If you are still unsure whether you have the correct policy, then get in touch, we’re here to help, but in the meantime we hope you are keeping cool and helping your employees to do so too!