Choosing new uniforms requires thought and planning to make sure they are a good fit for the business and employees. The business will also want to ensure the uniforms will work for years to come.
Before you choose the colors and where the logo will be placed on the uniform, it’s important to consider practical concerns — safety, comfort and durability. After that, then it’s time to consider aesthetics.
We’ve ranked the most critical factors to consider, starting with the most important.
Safety is of primary importance, so the first order of business is to choose the style of uniform based on the requirements for the industry.
For example, long pants may be required in certain industries, and others may require long sleeves. If lab coats, aprons or arm protection is needed, this should be considered during the uniform design phase.
Ultimately, the style of the uniform should provide as much protection as possible, so employees can always do their jobs safely. Anything that could be a potential risk factor, like loose straps, should be avoided.
The next consideration is comfort. Though safety can’t be sacrificed for comfort, especially when there are industry standards and requirements at play, it should be the next major consideration. If employees are not comfortable in their uniforms, they will be less productive, and may quit because they can’t stand the uniforms.
Fabrics that are comfortable to wear; are not too hot; and have some stretch, if possible, can help make the uniform a good choice. It’s also a good idea to choose fabrics that won’t shrink too much and aren’t scratchy. Also, employees often prefer uniforms that don’t come with difficult fasteners or multiple pieces to maintain.
High-quality uniforms are made well, with reinforced seams, strong zippers and fabric that doesn’t easily tear. They also won’t shrink or lose their shape over time or with multiple washes. This also means the branding, whether in the form of patches or iron-ons, won’t bunch, buckle or fade.
A high-quality uniform not only lasts longer than more cheaply made options but also represents the company better right from the start. Employees will make a good impression when they look crisp and neat.
Uniforms may be beautiful right out of the package, but if they are tough to clean or require dry cleaning, they will be difficult for employees to maintain. This hurts the overall impression of the business.
Double check that uniforms meet the following criteria:
Do not require ironing.
Do not require dry cleaning.
Can be washed with other clothes.
Will be cleaned by almost any type of detergent.
Will be fine if exposed to fabric softener or dryer sheets.
It’s OK if the uniform cannot be washed with bleach or detergent that contains bleach because this is normal for many fabrics. The goal is to make the uniforms as easy as possible to maintain and keep looking fresh, so employees always look their best.
Another consideration is how the fabric is sourced, who made the uniform and whether these are sustainable options. The fabric used to make the uniforms may be created in factories with inhumane standards and may also be treated with toxic chemicals or otherwise violate typical western business standards.
It’s important to take time to look behind the curtain when shopping for uniforms, especially if there will be an ongoing business relationship for years to come. Choose a company that sustainably sources its materials and employs ethical hiring practices.
Finally, it’s time to choose the details of the uniform that will represent the business. Here are a few things to consider:
Color: Light colors are generally advised for industries in which it is important to demonstrate cleanliness or sterility. It is easier to trust that a bright white uniform is clean than a dark blue one. In contrast, dark uniforms make it easy to hide stains for businesses in industries where employees work largely in warehouses. High visibility details should be considered for businesses with employees regularly in situations working on or around roadways that could benefit from bright high vis materials and colors for safety reasons.
Logo: Would a patch on the back of the uniform be appropriate — one large enough to include contact information, an address, email or maybe a hashtag? If a patch wouldn’t work, what information about the company is important to relay to those who will see the uniform? Is it important to put that information on the uniform, the work truck or the building?
Name tag: It’s common for name tags to be part of the uniform. You could have people pin on a name tag when they come to work or provide uniforms that include a patch or name tag with their first or last names. Generally, if it’s a safety issue to be wearing a pin on the shirt, it’s better to go with name tape or a name patch.
The bottom line is always a consideration, and you may need to sacrifice one or more of the features above to stay within budget. This will require some consideration and prioritization. Determine what is most important to your business and is worth spending money on and what items are OK to cut back on.
Alsco Can Help
For businesses that require a steady supply of uniforms, Alsco will ensure there is always a fresh stack on hand, clean and ready to go. If care of uniforms is an issue, we can also pick up the dirty uniforms to launder at the same time we drop off a new supply. We stand ready to help you navigate every consideration you must make when choosing a quality work uniform.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can provide uniforms made-to-order and delivered regularly, so your employees are always ready to represent the company well. We make the process seamless!