In your Office Manual there will be a Dress/Attire Policy for the firm, covering the style of clothes it is expected the employees will follow. It explains the need to project a professional image, within the office, plus when outside the office and mixing with clients.
A Grooming/Hygiene Policy
This will cover cleanliness of the body and clothes. A good introduction can be “This policy has been developed to ensure all employees understand the importance of appropriate hygiene in the workplace. This is important not just for clients, but also for the comfort of your fellow colleagues.”
Matters to cover can include
Daily showers – Given the climate in Australia it is necessary to shower each day and to use deodorant so as to avoid body odour
Shirts and underclothes – it is expected freshly laundered clothes will be worn each day
Teeth – it is expected teeth will be cleaned and any problems with bad breath, dealt with
Hair – should be kept clean and tidy.
Beards – are to be trimmed
Perfume – please use only mild perfume, as some people may be allergic to strong perfume
Nails and Hands – It is important hands and nails clean and nails filed
Make Up – Conservative make up is preferred
Visible Tattoos and Piercing – it is difficult to know what to say here
Feet – Unfortunately for some people their feet give off a foot odour, therefore this must be addressed, maybe by special inserts, socks, powder, etc
Dealing With Breaches of Hygiene Policy
If there is an issue relating to personal hygiene, this should be discussed in a private meeting. It is handy to be able to refer to the appropriate part of the Office Manual. After that, you can say, “I am not sure if you are aware that …. but I notice …. .
Naturally, avoid comments in public and nasty statements that are likely to embarrass the person. I recall one person saying he left a can of deodorant on a staff member’s desk with a note saying “Use this”. Not a very sensitive way of dealing with the issue. Indeed it ran the risk the employee may have felt so ashamed they could have resigned.
Hopefully there will be a person nominated to deal with breaches of personal hygiene, often the HR manager, if there is one.
As with most issues of Courtesy and Good Manners, it is important to address the matter, don’t avoid, but do be discrete and respectful, taking care of people’s feelings.
(c) Thea Foster – Added Value Corporation.
Thea has been providing professional practice management and marketing facilitating, presentations, and consulting for over 20 years. Thea’s clients are mainly accounting firms or suppliers of products and services to accounting firms. Please visit www.addedvalue.com.au for further information.
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