Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
As a grade-schooler, I learned the discipline of having a dress code policy because I went to a private school that required students to wear uniforms.
The positive aspect of wearing a uniform is that it takes the thinking out of what to wear in the morning.
The downside is, uniforms are usually boring and get old really quick.
The reason many schools have uniforms is to enforce a consistent look for all the kids.
When I entered the workforce, the dress code for office workers was fairly formal.
Most required women to wear dresses or skirts and eventually, business pantsuits became very common.
Through the years the formality faded and business casual became more popular.
As the Silicon Valley techie companies came into being, casual dress began to break the corporate rules for dress and casual clothes became more commonplace.
Businesses started to have casual Fridays when employees could wear their khakis and polo shirt and more recently casual Fridays very often mean blue jeans.
Is a dress code necessary in a church office?
Proper office dress codes are kind of a drag because no one really wants to be told what they have to wear to work. In addition, no manager really wants to confront an employee who doesn’t comply with the policy.
But office dress code guidelines are usually written because one employee crossed the line and forced a formal dress code policy.
According to a salary.com survey, some respondents felt like a dress code made the workplace feel professional while others didn’t agree that wearing jeans would affect job performance.
A small percentage of respondents were not even sure of what their companies dress code policy was, and those that were aware of a dress code said that it was unclear – which leads to confusion.
Nearly 25% said their office dress code was too lenient and shared stories of low cut tops, holes in blue jeans and exposed body piercings and tattoos that they considered inappropriate for the office.
4 Considerations When Creating A Dress Code Policy
1. Church Culture
Every church has an organizational culture that should dictate church office dress code policies.
The way employees dress is a direct reflection of the ministry and communicates such.
This doesn’t mean that the blue jean and t-shirt culture at Apple is unprofessional – they are very professional. But it is more so reflective of their particular culture.
Think of a meeting with your financial advisor.
Seeing them in blue jeans and a t-shirt might make you question their professionalism.
It’s all about the culture and what you are trying to communicate with the members, volunteers, and visitors.
2. Clear Expectations
Creating a workplace dress code policy helps employees understand expectations and boundaries for what to, and what not to, wear to work.
If the employee policies provide a level of detail it communicates clear examples of what is appropriate and what is not.
3. Office Distractions
Part of the reason schools have kids wear uniforms is to minimize the distractions that come with some styles of clothing.
The same is true in any kind of office setting.
Whether it is clothes that fit too tightly, shows a little too much skin or is dirty and not well-groomed, all of these things can create distractions in the workplace.
4. Consistency in Application
One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is not being consistent in policy enforcement.
When a policy is written and not enforced consistently, it can create confusion and difficulties in the workplace.
If you are going to create a dress code policy, it is important to make sure it is enforced without bias and consistently throughout the church workplace.
When creating your dress code policy consider the culture you are trying to reflect the community, the atmosphere you want your employees to enjoy and the boundaries employees need to abide by.
Whether your culture is blue jeans and t-shirts or business suits and ties, it should reflect the church’s personality and culture.
Does your church office have a dress code policy?