When you are starting a small business there are lots of things to think about and it can be quite daunting, regardless of what industry you are going into. One of the things that can be overlooked is the question of how to dress your staff. What your staff wear and how they present themselves speaks volumes about your business, especially for staff in a customer-facing role. Staff uniforms have a lot of benefits, however, small business owners often see them as an unnecessary expense.
Do You Need Staff Uniforms?
This depends on your type of business and what image you are trying to portray. Think about it this way, how many times have you gone into a shop and asked someone if they worked there, and they didn’t? The reason you will have asked that person is because of the way that they are dressed. If you own a business the last thing you want is your customers asking each other if they work there. You want your customers to know exactly what staff will be wearing and to ensure that staffare easily identifiable. Of course, if your business is very small and there is only one or two workers at a time, and/or the workers are behind a counter, then uniforms may not be necessary.
What Type of Uniform Do You Need?
Again, this depends on your type of business. If you are a financial investment firm, you will want a professional, suit-and-tie image, but if you own a bakery, you’ll need something that is within health and food industry standards. Equally, if you own a small book shop and are going for a relaxed vibe, you will want a uniform that reflects that. Think about what image you want your employees to portray to your customers and how you intend to brand your business.
Sometimes employees need to have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), clothing like helmets and gloves to protect them in their role. As a business owner you have a duty of care to your employees and you cannot allow them to work without the correct PPE. Some business owners supply this equipment for free, others charge their employees to use the equipment, while others request employees have their own equipment. If you choose to provide PPE for your workers you can claim this on your expenses when filling your accounts.
The biggest benefit of staff uniforms is that it helps to give a good first impression (when done right). Studies have shown that people will come to their first impressions within the first seven seconds (according to Forbes.com) of entering into your business. They’ll base this first impression on what they see, the image you’ve portrayed, the branding, the cleanliness, and the atmosphere. If you make a bad first impression, it can be very hard to recover.
How your Business will Benefit from a Staff Uniform
Here are five ways your business can benefit from staff uniforms:
If your workers are wearing a uniform that has your company logo and branding, you immediately set yourself apart from your competitors, spreading awareness of your business. With this more coherent branding you create a positive image of your business, one of professionalism and reliability.
Studies have shown that employees who wear the same uniform feel a sense of solidarity and belonging. They lead their work role with a team working ethos, they collaborate better with others, and their overall productivity and job satisfaction can be increased.
More Time for Employees
If employees have a staff uniform to wear then they do not need to think about what they are going to wear for work that day, they won’t need to plan ahead to get the best outfit ready. By giving them a staff uniform you are giving them more time to get ready for work by taking the choice of what to wear out of their hands.
Psyche of Work and Play
Psychological studies suggest that workers are more effective when in uniform because their frame of mine is focused on working. Whereas people who are allowed to wear the same clothes they would wear at home are in a more relaxed frame of mind, and therefore are less productive. Giving your employees a staff uniform helps to ensure their mind is focused on their jobs.
Enhanced Customer Experience
With staff uniforms your customers will always know who works there, they’ll never ask another customer again. Remember, if a customer enters your business looking for help from a staff member, and is unable to identify who works there, there’s a chance they’ll take their custom elsewhere. The relationship between your workers and customers will improve and your customer will come to feel like your brand is trustworthy and professional.
To add to this, uniforms help to bridge financial inequality among the workers. If you allow people to wear their own clothes then it is easier to see which workers have the most money to spend on clothes and which are poorer. Uniforms help employees from poorer backgrounds feel more comfortable at work.
Do you Choose Staff Uniforms?
The choice really is yours, but as you’ve seen there are lots of advantages to having staff uniforms. Of course, there is also the expense of these uniforms. Whether that expense is worth the business benefits, only you can say.