Informed Uniforms: How to Balance Impressing Customers with Staff Comfort
Having your staff dress in a corporate uniform can be a great choice for any company with a customer-facing front line. It helps customers identify staff members easily should they need to approach somebody for help, and it gives a smart, streamlined appearance to your business, amplifying your employees' professional behaviour and strengthening your brand. However, it can be difficult to strike a good balance between choosing a smart, sophisticated uniform that will really impress your customers and something comfortable and practical for your staff to work in. So how do you draw the line? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
Formal vs. Informal
It may seem preferable to make your uniform as formal as possible in order to project professionalism. However, this level of formality may prevent customers from feeling connected to your staff; either the formal dress will make them seem less approachable, or as someone they can't be friendly with. As such, if you prefer a more relaxed feel for your customer interactions, you may prefer something casual. For purveyors of luxury goods or services, on the other hand, distance and sharpness may be advantageous.
If your staff are most often found standing still behind a counter, it's not unreasonable to have them dress in a stiff shirt with the buttons done up neatly - but if they'll be moving around a lot, shifting stock or demonstrating products, then such a uniform may physically impede their ability to perform in their role. There's certainly nothing to be gained by sacrificing efficiency and productivity for looking good. If in doubt, ask your staff's opinions. If they feel they'd be excessively uncomfortable or restricted by your proposed uniform, then it's certainly worth listening to that feedback.
Consider Giving Options
Where possible, it's a great idea to give your staff options of what to wear, perhaps united by the same colour schemes and materials. For example, you may consider short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts. This is certainly more expensive, as you'll have to order in several different pieces instead of many of the same. However, allowing your employees to choose a combination that suits them and feels comfortable for their specific position in the company is a great way of ensuring that everybody's happy with what they're wearing - without sacrificing the uniformity you're looking for.
With the cost of ordering these uniforms in being quite substantial commitments, this is not the kind of choice that can rely on trial and error - so make sure that before designing prototypes and selecting materials, you've considered all these things and have a good idea of what you're aiming towards. That way, there'll be fewer corrections to make - and regrets - down the line.
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