The schools in the USA don’t require the students to wear uniforms. This acts as a medium of attraction for students in other parts of the world, believe it or not, to come and study in the USA out of all reasons. Indian origin actress, Priyanka Chopra, says that she had her school shifted to the USA merely because she loved the idea of no uniforms to school.
On one hand, where this holds true to American schools, educational institutions in other countries like India, not only have their students wear uniforms to school but even a few colleges have uniform codes.
Again, uniform at the workplace is a topic of discussion too. If you think about it, people’s professions decide whether they wear a uniform or not. As a basic rule, offices don’t need their employees to buy uniforms with the exception of a few professions. Usually, security guards, helpers, and hotel staff need to have a common dress code. On the other hand, lawyers, doctors, and surgeons have uniforms too.
Bank employees and many C level professionals, although they don’t have a uniform to wear, need to dress up a certain way. It is nearly similar to a uniform even though the professionals dress up the same way by choice.
Agencies and startups don’t have a uniform policy for their employees.
So what’s this relationship with uniforms that people have which keeps on changing as we grow?
Well, it might start from the stress of ‘what to wear’ every single day. I have had times when I wished to go to work in uniforms just to avoid that. Adding to that, there are times when we really need to show our exciting new purchase to the team and we thank the Lord for the no-uniform rule.
To help understand better, let us highlight the advantages and disadvantages of having a uniform code.
Here are the benefits of uniform code
- No hassle of choosing a new outfit every day: Employees can get away even if they don’t have a fancy wardrobe as everybody wears the same thing.
- Lessens shopping expenses for new clothes: You don’t need to shop more often for workwear as you have what you need.
- Not trying to one-up the other with one’s fashion choice: As everybody wears the same uniform, there is no judgement based on fashion choices.
- Feeling one with everybody else: Uniforms can induce a feeling of oneness as employees can relate to them just by the same clothes that they wear. This will prevent animosities or root level differences even before they show up.
- Induces empathy and trust: People tend to trust people who look like themselves. After all, we are all in the same boat.
- Affects employee physiology in a positive manner
- Can borrow the exact clothes and nobody would know: When you are out of clean pairs, you can simply call a colleague and save your day.
- Induces professionalism when worn well: Well worn outfits look great and will make a good first impression.
- Helps in team building: As people work better with those whom they relate to and wearing the same outfit is a major factor that will help them identify with each other.
- Is a walking promotion of one’s company: The company benefits from it as they get advertised where the employee goes wearing the uniform.
There are some disadvantages of uniforms, as every coin has two sides. Here are a few of them.
- No choice of outfit: Many people like to wear smart clothes to work and they might not enjoy clothes that are prescribed by the company every day. It may also make them feel like their individuality is being curbed and they are just one in the crowd.
- Hard to find the right uniform: Vibrant colours can drive a customer away, or dull colours can too. Other than that, there are many factors that you will have to consider before designing a uniform.
- Would be available only in standard sizes: Not all shapes and sizes of people can find their exact fit in uniforms making it look awkward on some.
- Limited pairs: You need to maintain your uniforms as you own limited pairs. When you fail to do so, it can be stressful or can even lead to a no show.
- Some uniforms could be uncomfortable: High heels for hair hostesses can be physically hurting when worn for long hours. Similarly, people who cannot wear the prescribed clothes due to disabilities would need to be made an exception. This might lead to resentment among the others who don’t prefer the uniform system.
- Time-consuming to put on and off– Uniforms may have badges, tags, ties and more accessories that need to be put on every time you change into them. That takes a lot of time and imagine repeating the same process after work too!