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Ways to handle sloppy appearance and poor hygiene among staff

When asked what problem seems the most difficult and delicate to handle among business office managers the answer is invariably the same. The problem that is worst to handle is sloppy appearance and poor hygiene among staff. While this may seem outside the job description of the business manager it is to often a reality that must be dealt with. Potential clients often judge a firms validity by the appearance of its staff and sadly deals have been lost due to poor appearance and hygiene. But before you put your head in the sand read on for some of the best tips on ways to handle sloppy appearance and poor hygiene among staff.

1. Make sure that as the business manager you are setting the proper example. While you may feel that poor hygiene is not an issue consider what you are wearing? If your office has a business casual Friday are you wearing a little too casual? Does your everyday appearance reflect the message you want your staff to be imitating? While everyone may feel a little entitled when they become the boss realize that the best message is often sent through example. Do not be afraid to make some changes to reinforce your own position on this issue.

2. After evaluating your own appearance and hygiene take a look around your office. Does your office reflect the type of setting you want it to? Does your office space seem to have a professional aura or is it more like a college lounge? Researchers have found that most people will dress to reflect their surroundings. If you feel that your staff is dressing to casually or unprofessionally consider the surroundings they find themselves in everyday. There may need to be changes made to reflect a professional atmosphere in the office.
3. Does your staff understand the regulations of office attire? If your staff has grown quickly there may be a lack of understanding about the professional dress attire that is needed in your office. Consider having group orientation meetings that will inform and refresh staff members on what is expected of them in terms of professional dress. (This is also a handy time to throw in reminders about good hygiene for the sake of co-workers and clients). If you are a part of large organization than Human Resources can often be an integral part of these presentations. For smaller staffs and offices consider bringing in a consultant from outside of the office to address these issues and the ramifications in a working seminar.
4. Once a policy has been established and staff has been duly informed than it becomes part of the job requirement of the business manager to see that the policy is adhered to. While some staff members may only require a gentle reminder on a periodic basis company discipline may be needed for those who constantly are breaking the rules concerning professional dress. Keep in mind that the established policy must be applied equally between staff members. Keep a record of infractions and be sure to include Human Resources in the disciplinary process before not after any action is taken.
5. If the problem becomes one of a lack of hygiene on a staff members part than a different tactic must be taken. If the staff member is a valuable employee than it becomes part of the business managers duty (however unpleasant) to tell the staff member of the problem in tactful yet clear way. Explain that changes will have to be made to the staff member's appearance due to it interfering with co-workers and clients. While this may be difficult and embarrassing being forthright and honest is always the best way.

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