In our last Nuts-and-Bolts post, we discussed some tips and tricks to avoid a scheduling disaster as your employees request time off during one of the busiest vacation seasons of the year. Another equally important factor that applies to dealing with summertime in the workplace is wardrobe. Heat waves are spreading across the country and employees are begging for a bit of leeway with regards to their office attire. How do you balance organizational policy and standards, while keeping your employees happy during these hot summer days?

The majority of employers have dress code policies in place to ensure that their employees are representing themselves and their organization in the most professional and industry-appropriate manner possible. When temperatures spike into the 90s and beyond, the heat can make working absolutely miserable. Employee satisfaction is important, and during these few days, having a bit of flexibility and agreeing to some slight modifications to your existing policies may be the way to go.

Flexibility and exemptions to policies (including guidelines such as: no flip flops, no shorts, no cargo shorts, no tank tops or spaghetti straps, no open toed shoes, etc.) on exceptionally hot days can include some of the following modifications:

  • Short sleeved shirts allowed, if the sleeves are no shorter than 2 inches from the shoulder.
  • Open toed shoes permitted, flip flops still prohibited.
  • Shorts (professional in appearance) permitted, if the hem is no shorter than 3 inches above the knee.
  • Professional summer dresses permitted.

Make certain to clearly communicate any modifications you make to your policy, and state that such changes are temporary for the season, and all other components of the existing policy are still to be adhered to.

Such small modifications will vary depending on organizational culture and industry. Making minor changes to your dress code policy to accommodate employee requests during the sweltering summer days can boost morale and help keep productivity going when the heat tempts everyone to get outside.