A recent study from two professors in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that people wearing lab coats are generally more careful and attentive. Testing two groups, one with lab coats and one without, the two professors found that those wearing lab coats had increased attention compared to those who did not.
The professors then gave two new groups white coats, describing one group’s coats to them as painters smocks and the other as doctors lab coats. They found those who had been given the “lab coats” had increased sustained attention compared to those who were wearing “painter’s smocks.”
To summarize, what people wear while they work affects how they work. Those who place significance and pride in their work uniform are likely to be more attentive employees.
Through having a workplace uniform, businesses can prosper. Some of the ways include:
When entering a new store for the first time, a customer can often feel overwhelmed. Having a polite and professional employee in uniform at the door to greet them and point them in the right direction can go a long way towards improving the customer’s overall experience and the chance the customer will return.
When a customer is unsure if a product is right for them, consulting with a knowledgeable employee can sway their decision-making. If that employee is dressed in a professional uniform, the customer will feel an increased sense of confidence in the advice provided by the employee.
Uniforms help unify a workplace. Solidarity and a team mentality is helpful in every place of employment from fast food to law enforcement. Workers functioning as a cohesive unit are more productive, communicate better and tend to enjoy the work they do more than those who are disorganized.
When a customer sees a group of uniformed employees working as a unit, it assures them that their needs will be met.
Uniforms can instill a certain sense of confidence in employees who wear them. They act as a badge that is earned and, depending on the position of the employee, demand a certain amount of respect. For example, one is typically more respectful to a group of uniformed police officers than to a group of assorted militiamen. The pride that comes from wearing a uniform is directly correlated with the confidence an employee has in their employer.
Employees who think little of or look down on their employers typically will shun uniforms or dread wearing them while on the job. Those who take pride in what they tend to enjoy wearing their uniform and are proud to display their employers logo even while off the clock.
A uniform identifies someone as part of a workforce. Uniforms help customers easily locate an employee. In retail situations it’s often helpful for those working the floor to have on an obvious uniform, allowing customers to easily locate them and ask for assistance.
In a delivery setting, an employee in street clothes may cause the customer to feel alarmed or uneasy at the approach of a stranger. An easily identifiable and professional uniform will put the consumer at ease.
Similar uniforms put employees of equal status on equal footing. Differences in economic standing is less obvious when everyone has the same clothing. Additionally, employees who know exactly what they will be wearing to work won’t have to stress out over picking an outfit.
Having a slightly different uniform for managers and those in positions of power also makes it clear that they are in charge. Even if it’s just a collared shirt compared to a T-shirt the difference in levels of authority can be clearly seen.
Ultimately, the benefits of having a uniformed workplace outweigh the the cost of providing a workforce with uniforms.
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