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Summer Dress Code: Keeping Your Cool and Employees Happy

Most of us love the summer; brighter nights, picnics, a general feeling of being more energised. However there is that small snag of still having to go to work in temperatures many Britons find difficult to bear, at least while wearing their regular work attire.

When considering the workplace summer dress code, the balance between maintaining a visual sense of professionalism versus ensuring one’s staff do not melt like a discarded ice lolly, is a fine one.

The starting point in striking such a balance is of course dependent on the type of workplace to begin with; what is acceptable summer dress on the building site will not be acceptable on the hospital ward or in a formal office environment. Employees that are client facing could most likely expect less relaxation in the formality of dress.

Of course ‘smart summer casual’ (“SSC”) is almost an entirely subjective concept; it may mean slacks, shirt and loafers to one person, but shorts, fedora and flips flops to another. Clearly then it is best to have a summer dress code expressly set out in writing as a standalone policy; employees must know they are in breach of a policy before any disciplinary action can be taken.

There are two very practical reasons for this; a properly set out policy can stop employees from shooting way wide of the sartorial mark when making an SSC wardrobe decision. Secondly it ensures there is some formal policy to point to for those that understand the boundaries set but go beyond them regardless.

Where possible it should be ensured that such a policy ensures parity between men and women in terms of the degree of formality with which they are expected to dress under the summer code.

If there are certain roles in the workplace that make it difficult to reduce the dress required, alternative cooling methods should be considered by employers, such as provision of cold drinks in communal areas, as well as providing free (odourless) antiperspirant in the office bathrooms. These are small tokens however make a big difference to employees dealing with the hot weather at work and so can ensure productivity levels are maintained when otherwise they might begin to slip due to fatigue.

As always if I can provide you with any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 or samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.


Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here. 

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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