The Argument for Uniforms at Work
What we wear tells people a lot about us. Our style is reflective of our personalities in many ways, but it can also be indicative of what we do for work. Someone in a well fitted suit, wingtips, a nice watch, and a tie is likely a businessman of some kind, for example. We know police officers and firemen by their uniforms. We can identify medical personnel by their scrubs (though, interestingly, medical scrubs only became a medical “uniform” in the 1980s and 90s; previously there were actual nursing uniforms). If you’re in a trade of some kind or in retail, there’s likely a uniform involved — for one thing, over 95% of the public think that uniforms makes employees easier to recognize. So what do you want to keep in mind when issuing uniforms?
What’s in a Uniform?
Uniforms make a group of people homogeneous — everyone wears the same thing. Practically speaking, this makes them easier to pick out of a crowd, which is important in stores, if you’re a customer looking for assistance. It also can designate them as someone special or unique, who should be given precedence — like a police officer or fireman trying to get through a crowd to help. And school uniforms are often used to bring a sense of unity to students; brand names or questionable clothing aren’t even in discussion.
Many uniforms often have some kind of uniform embroidery on them as well. Uniform embroidery can designate a name — like on a mechanic’s jumpsuit or military kit — or advertise the place of business with its logo or name. The clothes in uniforms also usually in neutral shades — khaki, navy, white, black, etc.
How Can I Make My Uniform Distinguishable?
When we hear the word “uniform,” specific images almost certainly come to mind. Khaki pants, polo shirts, full military garb, etc. However, plenty of businesses use a kind of uniform to make their employees easily identifiable. A uniform doesn’t have to be as formal as what a police officer or student might wear.
For example, counselors at a summer camp might all wear the same brightly colored t-shirt and khaki shorts. Employees at a store might all wear a red polo and khakis. Waiters might be asked to wear a blue collared shirt and black dress pants. Uniforms can be as strict as dictating what kind (and color) shoes and socks you can wear, to being limited to a certain color scheme.
Uniform embroidery is certainly one way to make your uniforms stand out. Like mentioned above, uniform embroidery can help tell people who the person is and who they work for. Some businesses prefer to have name tags, which are more customizable (important if they hire seasonal workers, or there’s a high turnover), but long-standing employees might have their names embroidered onto their shirts.
Bright or striking colors can also help designate certain outfits as uniforms — everyone wearing the same red polo shirt and a nametag, for example, will immediately key customers into the fact that they’re employees.
Where Should I Purchase Uniforms From?
If you don’t supply your employees with uniforms, but still ask them to adhere to a dress code, there are certain stores that deal solely in providing uniform staples — khaki pants, white polo shirts, and so on. Some schools may suggest purchasing their uniform from a specific supplier as well.
However, if your dress code isn’t that strict, you might be able to instruct employees to find its elements at stores that sell basic staples.
On the other hand, if you do supply uniforms for your employees though, your best bet is to buy in bulk in more generic sizes. Customizations like uniform embroidery can often be cheaper as well, if you buy in a big batch.
In some cases, having uniforms can actually help your employees stand out from the crowd. Consider using uniforms as a marketing tool and a way to promote unity within the company.