You’ve decided to use a uniform rental program to enhance the image of your employees. Perhaps you’re also providing them with protective apparel so that they can do their job. How often do you ask your employees about their comfort in their uniform? When is the last time your supplier took the time to engage directly with a person wearing the uniform to gauge their satisfaction? We’re curious about your answers because there is a correlation between an employee’s comfort and their productivity. Only a few workplace conditions affect an employee’s comfort quite as much as the uniform they wear. In this post, we want to explore the connection between your uniform supplier and your bottom line.

Comfort and overall fit are the most important factors when an employee wears a uniform. If an employee feels uncomfortable in their garments, it is likely their job performance will be negatively affected. Moreover, the adverse impact isn’t just on their measurable productivity. It can also influence their mood and how they feel about working for your company. For example, an employee having to wear a shirt that doesn’t fit quite right may start to feel that the company doesn’t care about their comfort. That employee’s morale may start to dip if the problem persists because your provider isn’t ensuring that the proper garment is in place.

EMPLOYEE COMFORT = HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

A major source of many of these issues is related to worn out garments. Employees that continue to wear uniforms beyond their reasonable life encounter two key problems. First – and most importantly – the worn out garment may no longer meet required safety standards. This places an emotional burden on the employee, as they become aware that they are at risk due to a poor quality garment. Secondly, the type of worn out condition may cause physical discomfort to the employee. For example, a worn out pant that the provider “repairs” instead of replacing may feel too loose.

While some types of occupations require a specific garment – like a thick, fire resistant coverall – there are enough cost effective options to satisfy employee comfort. Industrial laundry and garment manufacturing have come a long way in the past ten years. If your provider is telling you that options are limited, then your provider isn’t giving you the whole story. New materials and washing standards allow uniforms to be relaxed, practical and durable.

DO YOU BUY CLOTHES AT A RETAIL STORE WITHOUT TRYING THEM ON?

A definitive way to help with comfort is to ensure that your provider uses sizing samples. Tape measures and eye-balling it simply don’t cut it. And don’t let your employees give their sizes, either – you risk a restocking fee if the size isn’t right and they need a replacement. If your provider does NOT use sizing samples on initial install and size changes, then that should be a red flag for you. Especially if you’re incurring restocking fees for size changes. Are you keeping track of restocking fees and whether or not they are associated with an appropriate sizing process? What do you think that unnecessary cost is?

You would think that your provider would make your employees’ comfort a top priority. Unfortunately, conditions in the market indicate otherwise. Since it’s your bottom line that suffers when employee morale drops, this issue is one you need to monitor. Keep your vendor on their toes by asking for a quarterly garment replacement report. When your employees wear comfortable uniforms, your bottom line will make you more comfortable.