Summer is here and with it comes longer days, barbecues, baseball and all of the outdoor activities that are appropriate for this warm and sunny season. Work must go on of course but somehow it feels different. It’s more relaxed, vacation days are on the calendar and everything seems to slow down just a bit.

And then there’s also “summer casual” whereby some companies allow employees to change their office wardrobe to one that is less “formal” and more befitting of the season. On the surface it sounds like it should be a good idea however in reality it can be a disaster.

Flip flops, ripped jeans, revealing tank tops and other attire best associated with the backyard or beach are seen in the conference room. The clothes look incongruous in the office and rightly so; they don’t belong there.

It has become such a common problem these days that some companies have stopped “summer casual” altogether much to the dismay of their employees.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some suggestions on how to make “summer casual” a success:

  • Create a summer casual dress code and distribute it to everyone in the office. Be as specific as possible with the understanding that the more you leave to conjecture the more possible it is that an employee will arrive at work wearing something that is inappropriate.
  • Make certain that your supervisors and managers are on board with the code and adhere to the policy themselves. In this particular circumstance there can be no exceptions.
  • Consider purchasing imprinted golf shirts for the employees. This is a win-win for everyone. The employees will have new summer shirts suitable for the office and you will enjoy the extra name recognition gained from having your staff wear the shirts outside of the office at lunch and in their community.
  • Under no circumstances should you leave it up to the employees themselves to determine what is appropriate “summer casual” clothing and what is not. The choice of clothing can be a polarizing issue and it is easier to take the discussion off the table altogether.

Enjoy the season!