Why Society Values Uniforms: More Respect for Employees, More Productivity

WILMINGTON, Mass. — If clothes make the man or woman, then you could say a work uniform makes the employee.
But the power of uniforms can also be reflected in the bottom line. Studies have shown they can create a team-like environment in the workplace and, in turn, provide a business advantage to employers, says Robert Isaacson, director of marketing for UniFirst, a leading supplier of uniforms and services to business.
“Employees who feel positive about the identity their uniforms confer on them and display to the public often develop a stronger sense of company loyalty and become more productive,” Isaacson says.
Interestingly, the type of uniform worn doesn’t matter, according to Paul Fussell, a former professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who authored Uniforms: Why We Are What We Wear.
Fussell notes uniforms command respect because they communicate that those who wear them hold prominent jobs that are likely permanent. Isaacson agrees.
“Although the respect a uniform creates can be more readily observed when the occupation in question is that of a police officer or firefighter, it is nonetheless present to some degree in the uniforms that all workers wear,” he says.
“The professor’s findings also help to explain why most businesses personalize their uniforms with company logos, employee names, and more – doing so helps to elevate the uniformed stature of their employees to an even greater degree.”
Isaacson notes this is especially important for companies that operate in competitive environments or are in industries that experience high turnover rates.


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