Do you let your staff dress down in summer?

In the UK, we spend most of our time complaining about the weather – even when we have a period of glorious sunshine, some will complain that it’s too hot. But if you have to endure a suffocating commute, or your packed into a stuff crowded office for the best part of the day, then it’s a legitimate gripe – especially if you’re forced to wear a suit for work.

So, as an employer, is it time you implemented a summer dress code, to lighten the mood and help keep things cool as the temperature rises?

Last time the temperatures got this hot, we took to Twitter to find out who, if anyone, would be dressing down and wearing shorts to work, and it was a pretty even split…

So if you’re still undecided on whether to let your staff dress down, this might convince you it’s a good idea.

TUC urges firms to relax dress codes

The Trade Union Congress (TUC),  the federation of trade unions in England and Wales, representing the majority of trade unions, is urging firms to relax dress codes during particularly hot weather, particularly for workers who usually have to wear suits and ties for work.

It has also suggested that all outdoor work should be done early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to avoid working during the hottest part of the day.

There is currently no upper temperature limit at which workers have a right to leave work, and so the TUC is also calling for a change in the law to let workers go home if the temperature reaches 30°C, or 27°C for anyone carrying out physical work.

It also wants to introduce a maximum indoor temperature, with employers obliged to adopt cooling measures, such as providing regular breaks and cool drinks,  when a workplace temperatures reach 24°C.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “While many of us will welcome the sunshine and warm temperatures this week, working in sweltering conditions can be unbearable and dangerous. Employers can give their staff a break by relaxing dress code rules temporarily and ensuring staff doing outside work are protected.

Adding: “Obviously shorts and flip flops won’t be the right attire for all workers, but no-one should be made to suffer unnecessarily in the heat for the sake of appearances.”

So if your staff are required to wear suits, it might be worth relaxing the atmosphere and the dress code to keep things cool as the temperatures soar.

Let staff work from home

It could also be worth letting staff work from home when the temperature gets hot, that way the onus is on them to keep cool while working – and they can wear what they like to help keep cool.

Take a look at our blog to offer staff some top tips on how to keep cool when working from home, and be sure to make sure everyone can stay in touch by using the free teleconference service.

What is business casual?

The trouble with changing the dress code is some employees can take things a step too far and, before you know it, your office looks more like a gym class. So, if you are going to relax the dress code, it’s worth keeping some ground rules – this infographic from perfectly illustrates how a business casual could be the ideal compromise.

And watch this video, to help make sure you don’t get caught out by any dress code discrimination laws…

Are you letting your staff dress down this summer? Let us know in the comments section.