Employment Law

Can You Control What Employees Wear when Working from Home?

With many employees now working some of the time from home, it pays to look at your company’s dress-code policy.

While you may not see how anyone working remotely dresses most of the time, sometimes, you or others might. With many workers dressing more casually than when they came into the office, it might, on occasion, cause problems.

Have you seen the photos of people dressed smartly on the top half of their body for work-related video calls, where it is a different story below the waist? Regardless of your personal opinion about anyone still being “undressed” at 11 in the morning, you need to think about the possible consequences for you as an employer if the camera should drop or the person should stand up.

It Probably Won’t Happen, but It Could

Picture this: One of your sales executives is close to sealing a valuable contract with a new client. All is going well until they spot a spider crawling across the desk toward them. They stand up in fright, revealing a tatty set of unicorn pajamas. The client sees this, is upset at what they consider a lack of respect and cancels the deal.

Even if there are no spiders in your employee’s homes, other things could cause them to stand up and reveal more than they intend to, such as a scream from their child who has fallen over and banged their head in the kitchen.

If you decide to enforce a remote working’ dress code, make sure it does not discriminate against people because of their gender. For instance, expecting a female employee to “have made an effort” for an important online meeting while accepting a male employee who turns up rough and ready.

If an employee challenges your dress code or how you apply it, remember to treat the issue with caution. What you think might be a smart remark, or someone having a moan could become a lawsuit if they feel you dismiss their concerns.