What should be in your Workplace Dress Code Policy?

At the Policy Place we often get asked about whether organisations should have a Workplace Dress Code policy. 

Codes typically involve a list of what not to wear. But how about a more fun Code. One that supports a commitment to equity and diversity, and individual styles and differences while setting some bottom lines. 

Here are some ideas.  

Workplace Dress Code – example provisions

  1. Dress to Impress:  We want you to dress in a way that makes you feel confident and empowered while respecting the diverse beliefs and customs of people you come across in your work. Think about and be considerate about who you are working with. Remember that your dress will shape the first impression you make.
  2. Hygiene and personal care are important: Chipped polish, un-kempt hair or body odour can be offensive. Take care of yourself and be regular with your hygiene and grooming.
  3. Dress for confidence and comfort: Our dress code allows for all kinds of looks. You don’t need to feel confined by ill-fitting clothing, gender or other constraints. We will respect your gender, religious and cultural beliefs. As long as the clothing is appropriate to your mahi/work, feel free to wear what you want to.
  4. Accessorise Creatively: Feel free to accessorize creatively,  keeping your job in mind. Safety is important so if you’ve got physical exertion in your mahi or will be working in situations where you encounter aggression, don’t wear accessories that could be used against you – eg scarves, dangly earrings.
  5. Shoes to fit: You need good shoes for your role. Heels, flats and sneakers may all be acceptable if safe and appropriate for your work. Keep your jandals, crocs and flipflops for the beach. In some areas, you will need to follow safety rules for footwear.
  6. Hair and body adornment:  If you want to experiment with different hairstyles and colours go ahead but keep body piercings and tattoos that may be considered offensive covered.  Safety rules may also apply like keeping your hair up and covered when preparing meals.
  7. Comfort is key for you and us all:  While we support all kinds of looks, please ensure your clothing allows you to move and work comfortably.  Remember to respect the workplace environment and cultural diversity when expressing your personal style.

Is a Dress Code necessary?

As is so often the case with policies and procedures, people may not realise they need a Dress Code until someone wears something inappropriate in the workplace. The benefit of a Dress Code is that staff/kaimahi are given guidance about what is/isn’t appropriate. They don’t have to guess. However, as fashions change Dress Code policies can quickly become outdated.

It can be sufficient if your Code of Conduct addresses professional and appropriate behaviour and presentation at work. Workplace instructions can supplement it.

Help with your policies and procedures

At the Policy Place we help you manage your policies and procedure requirements. If you’re subject to the Social Sector Accreditation Standards or Ngā Paerewa: Health and Disability Services Standard, a housing provider, or PTE,  our online policies and procedures could be perfect for you. We can provide you with core policies and keep them reviewed and updated for you.

Contact us to learn how we can assist you with your policies and procedures.

Contact the Policy Place 0224066554