Your Summer Workwear Responsibilities
Providing a summer uniform or dress code for summer workwear will help you fulfil your responsibility to keep your staff safe, looking professional, and your business profitable.
Every Australian school student knows you need a separate summer and winter uniform, and for workplaces with uniforms or dress codes it should be the same. While your summer workwear can form the basis of your winter wardrobe, it should also offer distinct items that accommodate the heat and sun exposure faced by many Australian workers. Summer workwear offers solutions that let you meet your Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) responsibilities and stay profitable at this time of year.
Australian summers are notorious for hitting temperatures in the 30s and even 40s, so staying cool can be a real challenge, especially for anyone working outdoors. As the mercury rises it is important to choose clothing that will allow the skin to breathe and minimise perspiration. A cotton or poly-cotton blend in a lightweight fabric of up to 150gsm (grams per square metre), will provide ventilation to keep staff comfortable and dry. Short sleeve shirts and shorts are another great way to reduce body temperature and with the right style can still look professional. If you’re working outside you’ll benefit from a light coloured fabric as lighter colours reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them, although for sun protection you should opt for full-length sleeves and pants
A Little Ray of Sunshine
In Australia, our goal in summer is to stay safe from the sun’s harmful UV rays. We’re all well-versed in the Cancer Council’s ritual of ‘slip, slop, slap’ (and now also seek shade and slide on sunglasses). Anyone working outdoors knows they need to cover up with long-sleeve shirts, hats and sunglasses, as well as sunscreen. A lightweight long-sleeve top will reduce the amount of skin exposed to the sun while keeping you cool. Long pants are also recommended if you’re spending a lot of time outside. For industries with legally required protective clothing for workers, suitable summer workwear options with hi-vis or reflective panels will keep them compliant and safe. Remember, if your staff are required to wear personal protective equipment or clothing for their work it is up to you to provide compliant clothing for all conditions. And it may not be workwear, but sunscreen should be worn everyday. Supply your staff with personal size tubes as well as a pump pack onsite.
To Top It Off
Don’t forget hats and sunglasses for staff working in the great outdoors. Hats are essential for keeping the sun’s harsh rays off the head and face, and sunglasses protect the eyes from glare, grit and extended exposure to UV.
Working indoors provides its own challenges over summer as the air-con fights to ward off the heat. Indoor temperature can pose a problem for workers as no air conditioning setting can satisfy everyone all of the time. Research shows that room temperature directly affects our productivity, accuracy and efficiency. When the air-con’s too cold employees aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re also distracted because their bodies are focussed on keeping warm, leaving less energy for concentration, insight and inspiration. Investing in jackets, jumpers or cardigans for your employees will help them to regulate their body temperature while remaining professional.
‘Tis the Season
Summer in Australia heralds Christmas and the holiday season, and perhaps the need for specialised uniforms with seasonal messaging. You will want to plan ahead for any customised styles or branding, allowing time to place and receive your order.
Stay profitable over the summer months by keeping your staff looking their best in comfortable, breathable clothing. Research shows that there is a direct correlation between the appearance of staff and the profitability of a business, with a study of the hospitality industry demonstrating that we are psychologically wired to associate and accept higher prices at well-presented establishments. The study showed that customers evaluate your business by employee uniforms and that employees perform better when dressed in more formal uniforms. If you don’t want your standards, public perception or profitability to drop you need to provide your staff with suitable summer workwear.
Businesses have a responsibility to keep their staff safe in the summer weather, and by wearing appropriate summer workwear they will also be comfortable, look professional, and help your business to be profitable.