By Jessica Bowler

Start-ups often pride themselves on their laid-back atmosphere with flexible schedules, relaxed atmospheres and definitely no strict dress rules. So it might surprise you to hear that lots of start-ups actually do use work uniforms without even realizing it themselves.

Maybe we should take a step back and explain what we actually mean by a uniform. What we’re talking about is a specific style of clothing that employees wear. Although lots of people associate uniforms with something formal and serious, they don’t actually have to be. It just means that everyone in an organization wears something similar.

Does your company need a work uniform?

Well, that depends on a lot of things. Some definitely do – we’re talking about companies like delivery services, where it’s pretty important to be able to recognize who’s a professional member of your group. Uniforms definitely come in handy then! They’re also important for workers in sectors like the health industry (for sanitation reasons or emergencies), the food industry (also for sanitation reasons!), or construction (for safety reasons).

If you’re going to be talking to a lot of customers face-to-face, a uniform might also help potential customers to spot employees, meaning faster service. Think a supermarket employee wearing a brightly colored vest – it makes it easy for shoppers to spot them and ask for help if they need it.

OK, that’s great…but are they relevant for start-ups?

Most definitely! We know, we’ve been talking about issues like safety or sanitation. Those things probably aren’t relevant to your start-up. But hear us out.

Like we were saying earlier, uniforms don’t have to be serious or super formal. Because a uniform can be anything you want it to be, you can pick one for your start-up that expresses something cool or special about your brand.

You actually might already have seen lots of start-ups wearing a uniform. Haven’t you ever noticed start-up teams that love to all wear a t shirt with their logo on to work? That’s a uniform! Of course, members of your team can definitely still personalize their uniforms with things like hairstyles, accessories, shoes and makeup – it doesn’t have to be 100% identical.

Beyond expressing something about your brand or providing , there are also some real benefits that come with wearing a uniform that can definitely help your start-up.

Here are some benefits of uniforms for your start-up.

They can make everyone feel equal. You’re all on equal standing here with a team uniform in a very visual way. Plus, it stops people from showing up with clothing that might be seen as offensive or distracting (always a possibility when people wear whatever they like!). Unity is really important for start-ups.

Uniforms can be a great way to emphasize your brand. They’re an easy way to market your company and have things feel personalized. What start-up doesn’t want to get the word out about their product?

They can also lend your team an air of professionalism and help them get taken seriously, which can sometimes be an issue for young companies just starting out. This actually works for both your customers and your team. Did you know that studies show that workers change they way they think when they have their “work clothes” on? That’s true even if they have a casual work outfit.

And let’s not forget about team building, which is always a popular buzzword in the start-up community. Having a unified look can help your people feel like they’re part of a team and all in it together. It’s also a way to create team pride and a sense of involvement.

Oh, and one more bonus – it cuts down on the time your team will have to think about getting ready in the morning. It’s a great little time saver, which will come in handy on busy mornings!

All of these things can really help your start-up to highlight its values and create an even stronger team, which will only help your company to grow. Bet you didn’t think a simple t-shirt could do all that, did you?

How to pick a good start-up uniform:

  • List 5-10 words that make your brand different. What makes you guys really stand out from the competition?
  • Think about your personality and your unique history as a company. What story do you want to tell?
  • What sort of look do you want? Just switching from a t shirt to a polo shirt can increase how formally your outfit is perceived (which may or may not be what you’re going for).
  • Think about your team. Team is so important for start-ups, so think about what would work best for your unique team. You can even get them involved in the brainstorming and design process.
  • Have fun! One of the cool parts about working for a start-up is that you get to play by your own rules – which can apply to your start-up’s uniform as well!

Have we changed your mind about uniforms for start-ups? Do you think they’d be a good fit for your team?