Goodbye, Uniforms? The Necessary Change in Workplace Attire

by FiFi Oginni on November 9, 2021
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These are unprecedented times. Family holidays, social events, school and learning, and even business, have all changed. This era has been called “The Great Reset.” 

We’ve reset the status quo. There’s been a shift in our lives, from the way we conduct business to how we function in the workplace. From working from home to our social media marketing efforts, we can each pinpoint the differences in industries such as technology, healthcare and the service industry. 

Uniforms and Change in the Service Industry

One facet of the service industry that is often overlooked but is incredibly emblematic of the changes facing us is work uniforms. Corporate apparel typically adheres to a short and efficient checklist. Uniforms need to be functional, provide a measure of safety, and appropriately reflect the brand’s image and personality. The Great Reset is shaking up the checklist and shaping a new system and strategy for corporate apparel and uniforms.

Think about a few of your favorite shops, restaurants, spas or hotels. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about uniforms? Do they represent the brand well? Do they convey some sort of emotion from you — humor, nostalgia, maybe excitement? Do they get to reflect that employee’s personality in some way? 

Resetting the Way We Think About Uniforms

The Great Reset has altered the way we think about uniforms and the humans who wear them. If workers have to wear uniforms for long shifts, they ought to feel comfortable in them. Comfort will not only positively affect their moods while at work, but will, in turn, create a brighter and more productive atmosphere for employees and customers alike. 

Psychologists have coined the term “enclothed cognition,” which captures the effect clothing has on a person’s mental process. It can affect the way we feel, behave and function in the workplace. The right uniform, one that promotes a positive attitude and supports the employee, can yield measurable benefits for the business. A uniform that helps a worker feel better can increase productivity and confidence, and further positive interactions with prospective customers. 

The Current Shift in the Service Industry

The call for resetting work uniforms has been adopted by national fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, who replaced their signature red and yellow polos with a variety of grey button-ups, polos and T-shirts. This not only reflects their new branding strategy, but it also supports employees’ mental processes. Popeyes chose to up the ante by releasing a collection of sweatshirts, T-shirts, windbreakers and more. They even used their own employees to model these outfits, in a seemingly runway-ready photo shoot. 

With wages increasing to as much as $22 per hour in the service industry, there’s a push to change how businesses treat their team members. The business needs to value employees, support them in their work as much as possible, and see the employee’s success as a business investment. A new uniform strategy is a critical part of that investment.

With this new push in the industry, it makes sense to ensure that workers truly demonstrate the positive spirit of the establishments in which they serve. A great uniform is important in meeting that goal. With a variety of trendy, functional and eye-catching outfits, customers are sure to notice and feel more comfortable. 

Looking Ahead to the Future of Uniforms and Corporate Apparel

It’s time we fully embrace this new ideology. It’s time to shift how we treat employees. A new, positive uniform can be a competitive advantage for a business. After all, functional, fresh and positive clothing on workers will also have a positive impact on the business and workplace. Rather than making corporate apparel an afterthought, make it a business strategy. 

If you have questions or need help, contact GO2 Partners. Ask about our Corporate Apparel program, and let’s see how we can help you reach your business goals.

Topics: Marketing, Corporate Apparel