Do your ugly uniforms cause ugly attitudes?

Do your ugly uniforms cause ugly attitudes?

Thu, Jul 01, 21 Des Ford

Sometimes, the worst thing you can do to your staff is providing them with a uniform they would rather die than wear. Come Monday morning they may even roll over and stay in bed and you lose twice.

Increasing staff happiness should always be an employer’s top concern, as happiness leads to productivity – and more productivity means better quality work, stronger relationships with your customers and clients, and faster task completion. Yet employers often jeopardize this by forcing their staff into uncomfortable uniforms that don’t fit, ignoring the potential upsides of brand enhancement and identity.

This completely counteracts the point of a uniform which is to showcase the cohesive powerhouse your labour force is and the credibility of your brand. Uniforms present a polish that few other things can – it shows professionalism that informally dressed teams can’t compare to. Further, it shows alignment with a common goal and the true personality and mission of your organisation.


Do your employees hit snooze to avoid getting dressed in their uniforms?


Unless you want your employees to bond over the common goal of hating their role, why punish them by forcing a dress protocol that drags them down? 

The good news is happy uniformed staff do exist. It’s about involving them in the process and listening to their needs. While you might not be able to tick everything on their wish list, engaging with your employees makes everyone feel like a valued member of your team and not a rebellious child in a school’s uniform! The best companies we work with involve HR by asking their staff critical questions about how they wear, wash, and feel in their uniforms so you know where to improve when it comes to a brand refresh. In a recent product redesign, we changed the waistband fabric on our popular cargo pants. Ryman Healthcare's custodian team had given feedback that while bending and kneeling during gardening, the band would dig into their sides. We took the feedback on board and changed the band to a soft, flexible fabric that moves with the body. Both you and your customers will see the benefits of a uniform made from tried-and-tested core products. Your HR and People teams will also see the benefit from the adherence to dress code protocol, as your satisfied employees won't feel the need to swap out regulation clothing items for more comfortable or suitable alternatives.


Patterns that pay tribute to our unique heritage are popular choices across government, health and business.


If it makes sense, add patterns or colour

While this may not suit every industry, this advice is more relevant than ever in our increasingly informal world. While muted colours and sharply tailored suits still have their place, we are seeing a general loosening of these rules in favour of colours and patterns that make your staff approachable. We call it “casualisation” and the benefit of this is that they also cheer up your staff when they put them on in the morning, and projects a warm and friendly personality that black and grey can’t muster quite as well. The dated idea that colours and patterns can’t be taken seriously is wrong - they help bring out the human, dynamic and natural aspects of your brand. We advise bringing out one or two vibrant patterns or colours across your uniform design for your customer-facing teams. Our wide fabric range can accommodate prints and special finishes with your imagination the only limit. See how Arrow Uniforms worked with Auckland Museum to use bright and inspiring colour in their recent uniform refresh here.


Make sure you have all seasons covered

Think of the whole package and how it is seen together. Do you have the coldest possibilities of winter sorted, or the hottest summer day? Even if you’re outfitting an office, your team likely have a range of temperatures they’re most comfortable at – and thus can work best in. Remember also that your team may stray from the average wearer when range planning, although it is good to cover all your bases in case of a new hire. A case in point was a delivery team we were designing uniforms for decided to not add shorts in their range – they argued that all their staff lived in tropical climates, and they found New Zealand far too cold! We kept some range on stand-by in case someone did require them – but you know your staff and you are the expert. It's your brand, after all.


Fabric and fit are the key foundations of a solid uniform

Arrow Uniforms has been in uniforms for over 30 years, and we’ve seen everything. We encourage your collaboration and knowledge of your industry in the process because often the process is just refining what works and applying it to the special use cases of your team. Whether that means adding reinforced knees, fire-retardant jackets, or even just hierarchical labelling for easy sorting and washing, the best industry ideas are generally already in practice. 

Selecting from a range of fabrics appropriate for your industry and clothing that will work with every size body is the specialty of a uniform provider that traditional designers don’t know how to handle. This is the best way to ensure your staff don’t end up working in uniforms that are only practical for a select few, in fabrics that pill and rub up, and that don’t wash up easily. Furthermore, when we make our garments we produce them to a higher specification than the typical high street fashion clothes that are in fact only designed for a season or two at best.  Arrow Uniforms can help with all this and more – just ask us for a consultation.

We'll discuss who you are and what you do your workforce size, your industry requirements, and provide you with both off-the-shelf and custom options.

Your ugly duckling uniform can be a beautiful swan. Turn your uniform into a powerful statement that communicates your value without words. Dress your staff to impress and you'll find less time is spent on enforcing uniform standards and dress codes when it's easy for your staff to feel comfortable, warm, fresh and ready to work. Call us at Arrow Uniforms, New Zealand's leading uniform provider on 04 589 5888 and let's discuss.