Four ways workplace uniforms help unite remote teams


As the reality of the major changes 2020 has brought has well and truly
sunk in, it is time to shift our attention back to our team, brand, and company
cohesiveness. It is important we spend some time thinking about how our
messaging and culture is being perceived by the outside world, even in times
like now.

Our teams have likely not been in the same office or room for months and
Zoom for many has become the new workplace. What are your team wearing when
representing your brand? How are they being viewed during internal video
meetings or strategic marketing and sales meetings? Even more importantly what
are they wearing when meeting clients or potential clients via video call?

It has never been more important to ensure consistency and cohesiveness
as a company regardless of whether head office has now become a Zoom meeting
room or not. It is now more important than ever that your team looks and feels
united, confident and in charge.

Nearly every aspect of our jobs – from the daily meetings, the tools we
use and the clothes we wear – has an impact on our level of engagement.
Uniforms are a key piece of the engagement puzzle reminding members that they
are part of a team. It reinforces what the team represents, and uniforms also
play a major role in determining each individual employee’s sense of pride and
satisfaction in their work.

Uniforms are worn across multiple industries, from retail uniforms that help customers identify staff members to medical uniforms designed to be practical and hygienic. Corporate uniforms can serve different purposes in different situations, but there are some common benefits shared by all.

1. Team uniforms promote your brand

If your corporate clothing features your brand logo, or even your brand
colours, you’re building recognition every time someone sees an employee
wearing it and in a video call it stands out even more! Consider it free
advertising and something that can reinforce your brand plan and objectives in
the work environment. Thousands of dollars are spent each year on marketing and
branding in stores trying to communicate messaging. Uniforms are an economical
dual service marketing function that benefits and motivates your employees as
well as tell your brand story to all that encounter someone wearing it.

2. Team uniforms promote equality

Uniforms are a great equaliser. Your staff may occupy different levels
in the chain of command, but when they are all dressed in the same uniform,
there is a greater sense of team spirit. Particularly through these times where
they are not as exposed to the brand DNA and are likely to feel a little
removed from your business, a uniform provides a level of comfort and
structure.

3. Team uniforms promote loyalty

When your employees associate themselves with your brand, they are more likely to feel positively about it. When they wear your uniform or branded accessories, they become brand ambassadors. A company uniform defines what you are about as a business and ensures that your team is on the same page. Team members will wake up each day and be reminded when getting dressed who they work for and what that represents. A good uniform will ensure employees are excited and motivated to get dressed, creating a feeling of team spirit and sense of belonging when it is easy to feel isolated and alone in today’s times.

4. Team uniforms boost performance and sales

In business, effective branding can make you appear more approachable,
professional, and confident, and can often make or break sales opportunities.
Winning business is tougher today than ever before and the company that takes
the time to ensure their staff uniform represents the best version of their
brand, culture and purpose are more likely to get ahead in sales and
performance and be market leaders in their field. If done correctly, a uniform
will ensure your team look, feel, and act the part and will ensure clients are
confident, comfortable, and proud to be associated with your brand.

There is without doubt a correlation between performance and dress. A lazy outfit equals lazy output equals lazy impression. Staff who take pride in their dress sense take pride in their work. An outfit can speak a thousand words and when repeated correctly by each employee, the message to clients and the public is priceless.

Pamela Jabbour, Founder and CEO, Total Image Group





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Schoolwear and politics – Bringing down the cost of school uniforms | Britain


FOR THE many British families who have been struggling to look after children while clinging on to their professional lives, the prospect of schools reopening next week is a heartening one. But there is one aspect of the rentrée to which no parents look forward: the school-uniform bill. The Children’s Society, a charity, reckons that the cost of a state-educated pupil’s secondary-school uniform is now £337 ($445), up from £316 in 2015.

Michael Gove, a former education secretary, is partly responsible. He wanted state schools to adopt blazers and ties, along with the house systems beloved of private schools, which demand further accessories in ugly colours and stripes. These Hogwartian habits were initially adopted in the 19th century to foster team spirit among future empire-builders; modern proponents argue that making poor and rich children wear the same clothes oils the wheels of social mobility.

The transformation of state schools into independent academies has encouraged schools to develop their own identities. Despite government guidance advising them to opt for clothing available in supermarkets, schools have been branding everything from shirts to scarfs. Such items have to be bought in specific shops, and the absence of competition allows retailers to bump up prices.

The Children’s Society says two-thirds of secondary-school parents now have to buy two or more items from a specific supplier. “Most schools only have one shop you can buy the school uniform from,” says Andrea Grant. “You’ve got no choice.” She has set up Old School Uniform, a website where parents sell or give away uniforms. Other parents have gathered in Facebook groups that offer second-hand kit.

Protests against the rising cost of uniforms have driven Mike Amesbury, a Labour MP, to introduce a bill to stop schools relying on a single uniform supplier and cut down on the amount of items the school brands with its logo. Retailers and supermarkets could sell standard blazers, onto which school logos could be sewn. The bill has government support, and it is on its way to becoming law.

The government does not normally support Labour MPs’ bills, but the Conservative Party is worried that schools are putting extra pressure on the “just about managing”, a polite name for the working class coined during the premiership of Theresa May, Boris Johnson’s predecessor. Keeping that vote is central to its plans for retaining power in 2024. Monopolies are “simply not compatible with an agenda that focuses on supporting children from less well-off backgrounds in the seats won by the Conservatives in 2019,” says Tom Richmond, a former adviser to Mr Gove who runs EDSK, a think-tank that focuses on education.

Uniform suppliers are not happy. Matthew Easter, co-chair of the Schoolwear Association, a trade body, believes that the widely cited Children’s Society figures are misleading. The association’s survey of retailers estimates a uniform’s annual cost to be just £101. He argues that if a single retailer has to supply a school’s uniforms, then it will make sure that all items are available all year round. If no retailer has that responsibility, supplies may become uncertain and children may end up wearing mismatched items.

Whether that would matter much is open to question. The Education Endowment Foundation looked at the costs and benefits of 35 measures which might, or might not, enhance children’s performance. Uniforms were among the least effective. But parents like them. Mrs Grant dressed her daughter in uniform even though the school does not have one. “When they’re wearing the school uniform, parents don’t have to think about ‘oh, I haven’t got any branded items or fashionable accessories’, they’re just wearing their school uniform,” she says.

For some schools, no opportunity to extend the range of uniform items goes unmissed. Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School in Cheshire has made covid-19 face-masks compulsory. Their navy blue masks must be bought from their uniform supplier, Sam Dale & Son, at £3 a pop.

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “The new school tie”

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Protesters Return Diplomas, Uniforms to Minsk Schools Used as Polling Stations


Protesters Return Diplomas, Uniforms to Minsk Schools Used as Polling Stations

Graduates in Minsk, Belarus, were bringing their diplomas and certificates back to schools that were used as polling stations in protest of the country’s presidential election, local media reported on Friday, August 14. Anti-government protests ignited after President Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected for a sixth term. He has been in power since 1994. The main opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, claimed the vote was rigged. Local reports said certificates, medals, wreaths, and other markers were brought to schools across Minsk on Thursday and Friday. This video shows documents, uniforms, and other objects covering a fence in front of Gymnasium No 13 in Minsk. Credit: Storyful



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