Uniforms have been around for a long time with many different professional establishments having their own version of a uniform such as schools, hospitals, restaurants and supermarkets. Some people are of the opinion that a uniform promotes a sense of unity and professionalism while others believe a uniform restricts individuality and personal expression.
There are several main advantages of wearing a uniform. A uniform immediately creates a professional image which conveys a sense of authority, expertise, knowledge and trustworthiness to clients, customers and colleagues.
A uniform promotes equality by eliminating distinctions between employees such as their socioeconomic background, fashion choices or personal style. By dressing the same as colleagues, uniforms immediately diminish any possibility of discrimination or bias based upon appearance or financial circumstances.
Uniforms can serve as a powerful branding tool to promote business. They help to establish a strong identity which is easily recognisable. It further enhances brand visibility which makes it much easier for others to identify certain personnel from different companies.
The wearing of a uniform can save employees a substantial amount of money that would otherwise have to be spent on finding suitable clothing for work. With a uniform there will be no extra financial burdens which can be particularly advantageous for those who are already limited financially.
A uniform can act as a protective barrier against clothing in jobs where there is a risk factor and that may require working with dangerous, dirty, unpleasant or toxic materials thus keeping both the wearer and the clothing safe and clean.
In addition to the above, there are also several disadvantages to wearing a uniform. One of the main criticisms of wearing a uniform is that individuality is suppressed due to everyone appearing in a similar way. Some people enjoy showing off their individual style or indeed their personality through clothes so this may make them feel rather restricted.
Some uniforms may be designed under specific guidelines with professional appearance being prioritised over comfort which may make the wearer feel uncomfortable.
Initial costs and upkeep of uniforms may sometimes be at the wearers expense. Uniforms need to be regularly maintained especially in industries where uniforms can be damaged or soiled so this can prove costly over time.
Employees may feel restricted or even bored if they are having to wear a certain uniform each day and it could lead to reduced motivation especially if both the work and the uniform is monotonous. Some companies are fully aware of this and will incorporate regular ‘non uniform days’ into the workplace to elevate morale.
Ultimately, the decision to wear a uniform will depend upon the policy of the company and also the requirements of the employees.