Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Did you bring your metronome to work?

Keeping with the theme of spring and warmer temperatures. . . .

Workplace appearance. I can sense the uncomfortable shifting in your chair as you read those words. Employers often struggle with enforcement of a workplace dress code because it can develop into such a subjective exercise. We often spend our time talking to our employer clients about being objective in their assessment of employees; the mention of a concept that naturally encompasses subjectiveness well, naturally causes uneasiness.

Do you often find that your workplace appearance policy gets more mileage during the warmer months than the colder months? Certainly it does. And it's not just clothing that has come under scrutiny for employers. Shoes, or lack thereof, have become the bane of many HR manager's existence.

Blame it on Rainbow. Or Sanuk. Or Reef. Or any of the other popular flip-flop labels. Flops are vogue--very hip, very fashionable, and very prevalent. They've gone way beyond the standard black sole with a rubber thong style that many of us used to equate with flops. Now they come in rather dressy (loosely used) styles, and men are just as likely to sport them as women.

If you can get past the tocking sound of the flops, and if you don't work in an area that requires closed-toe shoes, then you may be weighing the implications of giving in to what you see is the inevitable--flops as an acceptable form of "dress" in the workplace. It may be an issue you are forced to address as the flop generation enters the workforce.

At the end of the day, it comes down to (say it with me, please) uniform enforcement of your policies. If you have a policy that doesn't allow for flops, then blow off the dust from that policy and be ready to use it when you hear the employee coming (because you know you will). Otherwise, think of flops as yet more confirmation that warmer temperatures are indeed here (as if the yellow film of pollen on your car didn't already remind you).

No comments: