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Staying Covered - Managing Employee Dress and Appearance during the Summer

While the rising temperatures of the summer months may inspire people to let loose when it comes to their wardrobe, it is important for employees to keep workplace dress codes in mind when dressing for the summertime. Many companies choose to keep a separate dress policy specific to summertime (often Memorial Day and Labor Day). This can help employees stay comfortable on warm days, although it is important to be clear in your restrictions when it comes to things like jeans, open-toed shoes, or showing midriff. Here are some things to consider when establishing your summer dress code policy:

  • Environmental factors: The summer heat is likely uncomfortable for employees who may spend a lot of time outside, whether they work outside or frequently travel outside of the office for meetings. The comfort of employees during the hot summer months should be a big consideration in establishing your summer policy to keep employees happy and healthy.
  • Client facing vs. non-client facing employees: You may consider separating client facing and non-client facing employees when creating your summer dress code policy, since non-client facing employees are typically only seen by other employees and thus may have more flexibility when it comes to dressing professionally. For these employees, establishing a more casual dress code during the summer may be appropriate in order to accommodate to their needs.
  • The industry standard: Some industries, such as tech, generally have more lenient dress codes all-around while others, like finance, typically require more professional dress at all times. Considering the industry norms when establishing your dress policy is essential, as it will allow you to determine the appropriate course of action when it comes to employee presentation.
  • Be fair in addressing your policy: Consider how these policies translate to include members of all genders, religions, and races in order to be fair and equal to all employees and to avoid conflict. Members of certain groups should not feel marginalized by a change in dress code, so keep individual needs in mind when creating your policy.
  • Spell out the specifics: Consider whether you want to allow things like jeans, athletic shoes, sleeveless shirts, and open-toed shoes, and be clear about disallowing specific things like showing midriff.

Creating a summer dress code ultimately helps employees feel more comfortable and relaxed in the workplace, and spelling out your company's specific policy-and adhering to it-is essential in making sure everyone stays happy, healthy, and presentable during the summer.

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The HR Summer Survival Guide is presented by DHR - Full Service HR Solution. Learn More about DHR >