Should Uniform Reflect Employees Seniority and Roles?
Often when it comes to discussing changes in the workplace, we avoid the question of uniform. We speak, for instance, about new tech and office design, but rarely do we delve into the question of whether there’s still a need for uniform, and if there is, should it be used to reflect a hierarchy?
Of course, uniform often promotes a more equal workplace- no matter the status or income of an employee, if they’re in a uniform they’re regarded as being just as important as their colleagues.
Many people also feel pride in their uniform. Whether this has to do with the company or the job role isn’t particularly important. Indeed, it can be seen as an achievement. However, there are many people who would prefer a more informal approach to uniform, envying the companies that allow employees to dress in casual wear.
For some roles, uniforms provide safety. Specifically, they help to uphold hygiene standards. Other uniforms, like those worn by the emergency services, establish trust.
With all of this in mind, it would be interesting to consider if uniforms should be used to signify the status of an employee in their respective workplace.
Work statuses can cause an immediate drift, whether someone new has joined the workplace in a senior role, or your friend received a promotion, their role is superior to yours, with more tasks at hand and a greater responsibility as well as a closer connection to the managers above you, so naturally, a divide can happen.
However, if everyone was in the same uniform, more of the same level status can be seen throughout the office, allowing for a simpler structure that helps to make employees to feel more comfortable with one another.
Another potential problem with showing status through uniform occurs in retail. Customers could be more inclined to be served by a senior employee, taking away the chance for others to serve, which could eventually cause a rift.
So, how and when does enforcing a hierarchy through uniform work?
Different job roles such as a healthcare worker and a nurse need to be distinguished between.
Status uniforms can provide both pride and motivation for employees, showing that you have a different uniform to others can be truly uplifting. It demonstrates your drive to get to the position you’re in and can be seen as recognition for such hard work.
On the other hand, if you were to wear the same uniform as everyone else, you may not feel that you’ve received any recognition.
Ultimately, it comes down to the question of whether you’re more concerned by the impression you make on colleagues or clients.
For many, they would choose how their team sees them, which, understandably you work with your team for most of your week, you want this to be an easy ride.
However, some may choose to look and appear more superior in the customer’s eyes, standing out above their team. Which could get the recognition and trust of your customers but could also allow for more work in the long run if the customers are eager to be served by a more senior member of the team.
Uniform is still a necessity in most professions, and it will more than likely stick around for years to come. While it can create a real sense of pride, it also represents your brand and companies’ image.
However, the question still remains… will uniforms help staff to achieve equality, or will they continue to enforce structure?
Direct suppliers to the NHS, Meltemi offers a range of medical uniforms for all, from nurse’s tunics and scrubs.
Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com