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“This is an office, not a beach club!”—Welcome to summer dress code season.

Posted on: June 14th, 2017 | Category: Employee Handbooks, Employee Relations, Our Blog

summer dress codes

In T minus 6 days, summer is officially here.


Besides the pool parties, cookouts, evening golf rounds and other kinds of outdoor fun, we welcome the season’s brighter, lighter and more comfortable clothes. Here come the flip-flops, sleeveless shirts, shorts, tank tops and other warm-weather gear on their long-awaited journey from the far-back regions of our closets to the forefront of our seasonal wardrobes.

Are you ready to don your summer outfits? And, more importantly, are your employees aware of what your organization deems acceptable summer attire?

Do you even have a summer dress code?

While some businesses have a very relaxed workplace dress code year-round, many do not. Employers who assume that everyone is on the same page often risk having to deal with distracting complaints and uncomfortable situations as the season wears on and it becomes apparent that people may not even be reading from the same book when it comes to your company’s summer dress code. The best way to deal with this is to have a simple, yet clear, dress code established beforehand that includes summer attire.

The best time to remind your employees of your summer work attire policy is now, before the vacations and warm-weather activities get into full swing and people’s fashion choices may become less, shall we say, workplace-focused?

If you are just looking to modify or start a new summer dress code, we suggest you consider laying your policy out early, and clearly. Give it more than a passing thought, too. We actually found some useful tips for working through this process posted by last year. They include:

  • Use examples to define your dress-code terminology by example.
  • Be sure to use gender-neutral terms.
  • Remind people to dress appropriately when meeting with clients or visitors, at special events and for video conferencing
  • Assume nothing and give kind guidance to less-experienced employees
  • Be consistent, not arbitrary, with any policy you put in place by putting it in writing and holding to the code you create
  • Give advance notice of the dress code
  • Strive to work through disagreements with the summer dress code in a calm and respectful manner.
  • Make accommodations for legitimate exceptions to stay compliant with EEOC and other regulations.

You can read the full post here.

If you are looking for a standard summer dress code template that you can riff off of to create something to fit your company culture, check out what the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) offers here.

In the end, making all your dress codes part of your employee handbook, and remembering to update them regularly, will help you avoid some fashion-focused issues and awkward conversations all year round.

Need help with company policies or other employee relations issues?

Interested in checking your company’s policies and documentation to make sure they meet your business’s HR needs? Email us or call us at 610-443-0119 to discuss how myHR DirectLink services can help.

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