Why People Love to Hate Work Uniforms

It’s no secret that work uniforms are not always well received among employees. This is especially true in workplaces when uniforms are introduced after years of not having them. At any rate, we Americans love to hate our uniforms for a variety of reasons.

The challenge of having to come up with new work uniforms is something we are intimately familiar with. As part of our commitment to offering the best uniform rentals in the industry, we regularly work with clients ordering uniforms for the first time.

study released in the U.K. in 2017 offers some guidance to companies looking to either institute uniforms for the first time or upgrade existing uniforms. The study demonstrates just what employees think about uniforms in the modern era.

Stress, Productivity and Perceptions

The Stormline study asked employees throughout the U.K. how they felt about work uniforms and productivity. Interestingly enough, 78 percent of the respondents said they make an effort to dress well regardless of a uniform requirement. They also make a distinction between the clothes they wear at work and those they wear elsewhere.

Right off the bat, we can see that employees do care about dressing well. But how does that translate to their perceptions of uniforms? Check out these numbers:

  • 91 percent said that the quality and condition of clothing is more important than a specific dress code.

  • 91 percent said they would be willing to spend more on clothing if they had more input.

  • 68 percent said they trust a well-dressed colleague over someone who did not make an effort to dress well.

  • 61 percent said that a strict dress code results in negative perceptions of a business.

  • 61 percent said they are happier and more productive when workplace dress codes are relaxed.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the study is the implication that strict dress codes and stress might be related. For some unknown reason, people are not as relaxed at work when an employer dictates everything from the color of their shoes to the way their hair must be styled.

Lessons to Be Learned

We can take the data from the U.K. study and apply it to making uniform choices here in the U.S. Needless to say, there are some valuable lessons to be learned. At the top of the list is the fact that employees generally do want to see workplaces populated by well-dressed people. The study confirms the commonly held belief that no one likes a slob.

The study also makes it clear that strict dress codes are not well received. Workers do not want to feel as if they are being held prisoner by their uniforms. This suggests that employers can set some general guidelines for less important clothing items such as shoes but remain a little stricter about pants, shirts, dresses, etc.

The most important lesson here is that casual is the new formal. Unless a work environment requires black-tie formality for a specific reason, we believe a more casual style is in order. Let’s face it: the modern workplace is a lot more casual than the office of the 1980s and ‘90s.

Let Us Help

Alsco pioneered uniform rental more than 128 years ago. Over the many decades we have been in this business, we have learned what it takes to provide high-quality uniforms that satisfy both employers and employees. We can put that knowledge to work for you.

Whether your company is embracing uniforms for the first time or seeking to replace existing uniforms, Alsco has a solution for you. We would be honored to work with your management team to come up with uniforms perfect for your needs. It is just what we do.

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