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Uniforms For the Help Desk? 837

Posted by timothy
from the must-include-spock-ears-and-jester-shoes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am an IT worker in a mid sized company with approximately 500 employees. There are 30 people on the IT staff, 6 of whom are on the help desk. Our help desk does have significant visibility in the company, and most people know us by face (some by name). Recently the idea has been floated up the management chain to have these help desk workers wear IT department branded shirts. The idea is to promote visibility and unity. Wearing of these shirts would be mandatory Monday through Thursday. The shirts would not be identical (there would be several styles offered). We would be the only department with specific garments outside of the normal business casual dress code. Is management out of line with the industry in promoting this sort of policy change? Is the singling out of 6 employees as 'the IT guys' a step in the right direction, or does it detract from the professionalism that we are trying to display as a department?"
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Uniforms For the Help Desk?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:50PM (#30587036)

    To me, it's a little close to wearing a fast food uniform. It would bug me.

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:58PM (#30587176) Journal

      yeah, maybe someone should ask why management isn't wearing department specific garments that say "management" on them.

      All those garment suggestions do spell out, however, is "mismanagement".

      • by emc (19333) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:03PM (#30587268)

        yeah, maybe someone should ask why management isn't wearing department specific garments that say "management" on them.

        What do you think a tie actually is?

      • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity.yahoo@com> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:07PM (#30587336) Homepage

        Good point. I would have to see the uniforms before passing judgment. Without further information, I would say that in general, uniforms marginalize individuals and make them feel like a smaller cog in the machine.

        The ability to demonstrate professionalism with attire is an important part if being a professional. If uniforms are being suggested because IT guys currently are dressing inappropriately(gasp), then that's a failure of management to enforce what are likely already existing business casual attire rules.

        • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:20PM (#30587580) Journal

          Good point. I would have to see the uniforms before passing judgment. Without further information, I would say that in general, uniforms marginalize individuals and make them feel like a smaller cog in the machine.

          I've seen the uniforms. I have no problem with wearing one of them, as long as it isn't the red one.

          BOSS: Ensign Flayer, you and Scotty head over to the VP of Marketing's office to troubleshoot his docking station.
          ME: FUCK

          • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:39PM (#30587886) Homepage

            As long as uniforms are there to bridge the gap between, more formal office attire and shop floor clothing. Working at a desk and getting under one and in other messy places to check the connections, as well as carting around dusty computers, is rather messy for more formal attire. Likely the real reason for the uniform is so that you will stand out, so when your walking past or in the vicinity they can spot you and grab you to immediately to assist them.

            This creates a new problem for support in keeping track of the company food chain and making sure those higher up get served first and those lower down get served last and making it politely clear to those waiting why they are waiting, or why you must continue on to assist someone else.

            It will work like this, you leave your desk to assist one person and on the way there and on the way back other people will pester you to solve all kinds of trivial junk because you are handy and, then everyone will complain that you are never at your desk. After that comes a mobile connection so no matter where you are in the office, toilet, lunch, working under a desk with cables, you are expected to answer the phone to solve problems. Uniforms equals computer janitors.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dbIII (701233)

              so when your walking past or in the vicinity they can spot you and grab you to immediately to assist them.

              That is the normal situation with or without a uniform once they know you. For example:
              Last week there was a network outage that occured when payroll was doing the last minute scramble to get everyone paid by Christmas. I was putting up a ladder to look at a switch to try to track down the problem when a sales guy that uses webmail came running out of his office saying "everyone else is using explorer

            • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @09:43PM (#30589590) Homepage Journal

              "Likely the real reason for the uniform is so that you will stand out, so when your walking past or in the vicinity they can spot you and grab you to immediately to assist them."

              The only way to organize technical support in a big company (and 500 people is quite big already) is to prioritize the work.

              What you suggest above is anathema to proper prioritization. Nothing kills planning like doing adhoc work.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by palegray.net (1195047)
          I wholeheartedly agree that the uniforms should be seen first. I've got an inside source who has sent me photos of the current uniform concept [thinkgeek.com].
      • by EdIII (1114411) * on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @09:18PM (#30589416)

        All those garment suggestions do spell out, however, is "mismanagement".

        It's not mismanagement at all. It is the difference between blue collar workers and white collar workers.

        Janitorial staff wears a uniform. Fast food workers wear a uniform. Security guards wear a uniform.

        The management over there clearly sees IT as a bunch of over paid blue collar workers that only do what they do since they could not get an MBA from an Ivy League school. I may be over reacting here, but I see it as flat out disrespect.

        On another note, it absolutely sends the wrong message. People in uniforms take them off at the end of the day. In my mind, it provides a logical disconnect once 5pm hits and they can leave and take off the uniform. No more loyalty, no dedication to the company, no doing whatever it takes to get the job done right. No disrespect to uniformed workers, intended, but seriously, what vested interest do they have in the company? They are hourly workers with poor benefits usually that can get treated like crap.

        Uniforms just suck in my opinion. I worked too hard to be able to do what I do in my field to get to wear a uniform and just clock in. That's not my mentality. I take my job seriously and just do whatever it takes to make sure everything is running with best practices, redundancy, failover, etc.

        A uniform would seem to put a serious hit on morale for IT workers that are really worth something.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wisty (1335733)

          IT staff aren't white collar workers. This is partly because it's a new discipline, and hasn't devolved into blue-collar workers (who do the real work, and don't get paid much) and white collar workers (who suck up all the resources, and organize the blue-collared workers to be more efficient), and "professionals" (who are like blue-collar workers, only their skills are too elusive to devalue) and partly because IT is too hard for management to divide an conquer (so far).

          They say that before the 80s, manage

        • by Cederic (9623) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @04:23AM (#30591362) Journal

          The management over there clearly sees IT as a bunch of over paid blue collar workers that only do what they do since they could not get an MBA from an Ivy League school. I may be over reacting here, but I see it as flat out disrespect.

          At a helpdesk level, IT staff are just a bunch of replaceable skilled technicians. Why do you think helpdesk is one of the first things outsourced by non-IT companies? Helpdesk staff are an off-the-shelf commodity in employment terms.

          That's not disrespect, that's simple reality.

          Server admin, network specialists, storage gurus, developers all have a stronger argument that they're doing a professional job that needs in-depth expertise and has a career path, but helpdesk? No.

          Not sure that justifies uniforms though...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Glonoinha (587375)

          It sounds like you aren't working for the Help Desk. I've talked to people from the Help Desk and guess what, they actually are hourly workers with poor benefits that usually get treated like crap. They aren't even considered part of IT, more of a three-level set of gatekeepers that handle scripted issue resolution so the real IT team can focus on the real problems.

          In reading the responses in this thread so far, I wonder if the OP is asking the wrong question.
          Perhaps a better question would have been :

          I'v

    • Oblig. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:01PM (#30587224)

      "You know, the Nazis had pieces of flair that they made the Jews wear."

    • by Rei (128717)

      Depends on what the uniform is like. What if it was an awesome henchman-of-an-evil-genius style uniform? Or perhaps something like the longcoats [wordpress.com] from Tin Man?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Are surgeons (who have to wear scrubs) and airline pilots (who have to wear uniforms) also close to wearing a fast food uniform in your view?
      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:32PM (#30587774)

        Are surgeons (who have to wear scrubs)

        It's the fact that surgeons don't wear scrubs when meeting patients which shows exactly what the difference is here

        and airline pilots (who have to wear uniforms)

        More interesting, but these are quite specifically officers uniforms. Uniforms often have specific meaning and represent power only through authority. Approximately as follows: cleaner / fast food attendant / security guard / soldier / nurse / policeman / fireman / doctor(?) / officer / judge

        by working out which group your uniform is based on (in this case, I guess security guard) you can guess what they are saying about social status.

        • by FiloEleven (602040) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @11:43PM (#30590306)

          Ooh! What they need is a variety of uniforms depending on the task currently at hand! Working on a server outage? Put on the fireman outfit. Users not obeying your policies? Policeman. Laying cable or moving computers around? Cleaner. Spyware removal? Nurse. Coding? Scientist.

          The Judge uniform should of course be used in all meetings, because any psychological trick to get management to actually listen to the IT department should be exploited to the fullest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bensode (203634)

      Be thankfull it's not a jacket,shirt & tie mandatory rule. I've ruined more nice clothes than I care to calculate the value over the years at the office. I am totally greatful that our CFO here doesn't mind that we (IT staff) wear jeans & polo shirts when everyone else is jacket, shirt & tie.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Forcing uniforms especially for a group of people that have nothing to do with PR are nothing more than rose-colored, management "feel good" techniques. If the people were out in public, meeting clients, or standing in front of a television camera regularly, then fine. But sitting at a desk? Where almost all of their communications are by phone or e-mail? Uniforms are demoralizing, as far as I'm concerned. Professionalism comes from the heart and soul of a person and nothing else. The structure and des
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr_mischief (456295)

      The first word that popped in my head was "ghettoization". They may be trying to show their disdain for the department and trying to bust some egos. However, they may be trying to actually help. Many IT guys complain about being required to wear nice professional attire then getting it stained, filthy, torn, and scuffed working below floors, above ceiling tiles, under desks, and up against cheap computer cases and racks. Maybe there's a problem with people breaking the dress code right now, and this is a (m

  • by Herkum01 (592704) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:53PM (#30587080)

    Call them red shirts, and remind them what happens to red shirts in Star Trek, because as the saying goes, image is everything!

  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Guil Rarey (306566) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:53PM (#30587090)

    is the color blaze orange with concentric circles on the back?

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vindicator9000 (672761) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:14PM (#30587462)
      Funny, but my company did just mandate blaze orange shirts for all front line IT staff. I can't for the life of me figure out who thought that was a good idea. Mine comes in Monday. We can also wear Navy. I think I'm going to get an equal number of pairs of blaze orange and navy pants and alternate them daily. Personally, I find it extremely condescending. I'm required to design and maintain hundreds of databases, several servers, write apps, troubleshoot network problems, manage million dollar projects, AND do desktop support for 2000 devices with 3 other IT people for $40K/year. And now this. No wonder I've thrown my hands up today and am now posting on slashdot. Yes, I'm looking for a way out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tgrigsby (164308)

        Time out...

        You design and maintain hundreds of databases, write apps, manage projects, maintain servers and hardware devices... and you only charge $40k a year.

        Dude. You're SO doing it wrong. Your paycheck is an epic fail. What country are you living in?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Healthcare. I work desktop support in healthcare.

          I've talked to other people who work desktop in this industry, and it seems to be the same all over the place. Most of the managers of IT are clinical people rather than IT people. They regard IT as an unnecessary evil, and would rather it be gone completely. The organization is setup so that no one can tell anyone no, least of all us. They don't care about job descriptions; here Desktop Support is a catchall, but they tell us that we're being paid the

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wisty (1335733)

        Funny, but my company did just mandate blaze orange shirts for all front line IT staff. I can't for the life of me figure out who thought that was a good idea.

        Mine comes in Monday.

        We can also wear Navy. I think I'm going to get an equal number of pairs of blaze orange and navy pants and alternate them daily.

        Personally, I find it extremely condescending. I'm required to design and maintain hundreds of databases, several servers, write apps, troubleshoot network problems, manage million dollar projects, AND do desktop support for 2000 devices with 3 other IT people for $40K/year. And now this. No wonder I've thrown my hands up today and am now posting on slashdot.

        Yes, I'm looking for a way out.

        http://jobs.stackoverflow.com/ [stackoverflow.com]

        http://jobs.serverfault.com/ [serverfault.com]

        Your resume should look like this:

        Designed and maintained over 200 databases, including:
        * Customer whatsit thinghy, with 8,000 records, 30 fields, and 30 current users
        * three
        * other
        * highlights

        Designed, set-up and maintained 7 servers, including:
        * Main NAS with 1.5T of data (including back-up to, network connections, ...)
        * more
        * highlights

        Produced a number of web applications, including
        * Some
        * highlights

        Managed projects worth in excess of $2 million

        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

          by pnuema (523776) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @02:39AM (#30591076)
          Don't* go out of your way to mention your salary (unless asked), and if you do mention it, make sure they know that you consider your current salary inadequate.

          NO. Never disclose your salary. The proper response is "I won't tell you what I make, but I'll tell you what I want." Your salary is none of their business. If they insist they must know your salary, express dismay that they do not have confidence in their interviewing process, and walk away. They should know how much they are willing to pay to have a particular job done, and their interview process should be good enough to determine if you are capable of doing it. Alternatively, tell them you'd be happy to disclose your salary if the hiring manager discloses his.

          Always remember - the first person to throw out a number in a negotiation loses. Walk away before it happens to you (and if you didn't already know that you've lost any negotiation you aren't willing to walk away from, consider yourself informed).

  • Professionalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by numbsafari (139135) <swilsonNO@SPAMbsd4us.org> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:54PM (#30587096)

    Does the company have an existing dress code? Do the IT guys follow that dress code well?

    Let's be honest: IT guys have a reputation for being a bit sloppy. If that's the case here, perhaps the right approach would be for the team to do a better job of looking professional.

    But if the team is already meeting the same expectations as the other employees, this just sounds like a giant waste of time. Money, energy and resources wasted on this would probably be better spent on something worthwhile that would actually have an impact on the team's ability to provide quality service.

    • "IT guys are stereotyped as being a bit sloppy."

      Fixed that for you.

      It's worth wondering why IT is being singled out for uniforms. How about the folks in payroll? Or accounting? Just what is being said about IT here that can't be said about any other department in the company?

      If IT needs a uniform, it's nothing more complex that a plumber's set of overalls. We spend all our time in the field crouched under desks and showing our ass cracks anyway, right? Now hand me that left-handed feeblegruber and get

    • Re:Professionalism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:15PM (#30587480)

      Don't argue, take advantage!

      T-shirts scream "peon". Suggest shirts from a uniform service (so you dont have to buy replacements or wash them yourself) and come up with a professional logo. Dark colors don't show sweat and stains as much. Dark blue or black would stand out. Brown is depressing.

      "Money, energy and resources wasted on this would probably be better spent on something worthwhile that would actually have an impact on the team's ability to provide quality service."

      I wouldn't give a shit. Pay me and pay for my clothes if ya don't like what I buy myself.

  • I like uniforms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mike Buddha (10734) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:55PM (#30587120)

    I haven't had to wear one in almost 20 years, but when I did, I liked it, because then I didn't have to think about what I was going to wear to work.

    Maybe they're trying to send you guys a not-so-subtle message that maybe your business casual is a bit too casual?

    • Re:I like uniforms (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sasha328 (203458) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:01PM (#30587230) Homepage

      I agree. I think uniforms (or rather badged shirts) make my life much easier. At my place of work (an engineering company) I am the only IT guy, and I don't interact with customers, so I rarely wear a dress shirt to work.
      The other staff can wear anything as long as it is "professional", and at times they do wear the company badged shirts.

      I would say, don't worry about it and enjoy it.

  • Assuming the company would be springing for the $$ for these "Uniforms" point out better ways for the company to be utilizing their resources/cash. Ultimately, corporate policy (even dress codes) is driven by management and if they see this affecting their bonuses (via EBITDA), well then???
  • by psbrogna (611644) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:56PM (#30587132)
    While we're on the subject, I'd like sales people to be readily recognizable as well. Perhaps a red S emblazoned on their forehead with a red-hot branding iron.
  • by Petersko (564140) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:56PM (#30587138)
    If you're like most companies that are trying to keep a "helpdesk-centric" model going, your group is the forward face of IT, and the contact point. Help desks aren't about strong individuality - they're about consistency/uniformity of service. I don't see why the idea couldn't be extended to wearing branded shirts.

    When your skills outgrow the help desk - and they should - consider losing the uniform as a perk of advancement.
  • I recommend something in this style [wordpress.com].
  • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:58PM (#30587168)

    Given how IT staff get harassed to fix everything, and blamed for everything broken, I would suggest an idea floated during my days as a university student.

    See, we had these "Programmers On Duty", or PODs, many of whom were volunteers, who would look at your program, and attempt to help you find what was wrong. This was pretty much a thankless job, and anything you broke, and they couldn't fix, was considered their fault. (This was the late 70s era of punched cards, and computer printouts, with actual terminals a rare and coveted tool -- the POD had an office with, you guessed it, a terminal -- a CRT to boot, so one would not have to keep trying to use the back of discarded printouts in the DECwriters. The attraction of POD duty was access to that terminal, in hopes it would be a slow day.)

    A bunch of us thought that PODs should be issued distinctive uniforms as well: superhero-style costumes actually. Ostensibly this was to distinguish them as members of a rare breed: people who could debug programs quickly. In fact, the intent was to shield their identity lest the be pestered to provide help while off duty.

  • Kind of stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

    Hopefully the IT helpdesk are professionals. Who else in the company provides support for anything? Are they going to have uniforms as well?

    Who is going to pay for these uniforms? The company?

    Now lets do a little analysis. There are 6 employees who this will affect. There will be several styles. The word "several" is defined as: "being more than two but fewer than many in number or kind:" (dictionary.com).
    So lets assume that there will be 4 different styles. This means that there will not be a "comm

  • by L3370 (1421413) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @05:59PM (#30587186)
    With conspicious uniforms mandated for your help desk and NO ONE ELSE, I'd imagine it equivalent to taping a bulls-eye to your back on a battlefield.

    This may be the desired effect from management but the HD will probably despise it. Every time a coworker passes by you and your neat little t-shirt, it will remind them about that computer problem that just cant wait untill you are done eating...or smoking that cigarette, or taking a leak in the public restroom.

    I know that this feeling is already experienced by those of us in IT, but I think this would worsen the problem.
  • I guarantee I would've quit in an instant if asked to wear a uniform. I still would if I were working any kind of job where it would even be considered. Uniforms are a clear marker of a corporate culture going down the tubes.

  • What?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wiedzmin (1269816)
    You have 30 people in IT staff for a company of 500 people?! You lucky bastard!
  • by mewsenews (251487) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:02PM (#30587244) Homepage

    The idea is to promote visibility and unity.

    As opposed to interchangeability and lack of individuality?

    Why on earth should your help desk boys be forced to wear uniforms by policy when the rest of the office get to dress like professionals? From my viewpoint, the whole question just oozes social stratification.

  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:03PM (#30587272) Homepage

    What are most of you DOING? I work for a company with over 800 employees, approximately 600 or so who directly use computers, that has 16 locations in the Eastern USA and we make do with TWO.

  • lovely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:04PM (#30587278)

    First reaction is that this is nothing more than flair and you know who else made people wear flair? TGI Fridays! AndHitler.

    Second more reasonable reaction: which other departments are required to wear uniforms? If IT is being made to stand out like a redheaded stepchild, that's not cool. I'm trying to think of other businesses that have that kind of uniform/plainclothes distinction. Delivery drivers, pest control people, UPS, the people who go out in the field wear the uniform. They're also the lowest paid of the bunch. McDonalds lets the managers wear a dress shirt and tie. Dealerships have the mechanics wearing uniforms but not the sales people and office staff. Pretty much anyone in uniform is on the lower end of the totem pole. IT is supposed to be a co-equal department, right?

    It might seem like I'm making a bit much of it but I think this is really an outward sign of holding IT in lower regard than the other departments. Let me know when Accounting gets assigned jumpsuits.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by value_added (719364)

      Delivery drivers, pest control people, UPS, the people who go out in the field wear the uniform. They're also the lowest paid of the bunch. McDonalds lets the managers wear a dress shirt and tie. Dealerships have the mechanics wearing uniforms but not the sales people and office staff. Pretty much anyone in uniform is on the lower end of the totem pole. IT is supposed to be a co-equal department, right?

      That pretty much sums up the inconsistencies, doesn't it?

      Uniforms can be perfectly fine, but their use is

    • Re:lovely (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rantingkitten (938138) <kitten@mirrorsha ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @07:28PM (#30588496) Homepage
      I'm trying to think of other businesses that have that kind of uniform/plainclothes distinction. Delivery drivers, pest control people, UPS, the people who go out in the field wear the uniform. They're also the lowest paid of the bunch.

      Those people aren't wearing a uniform because they're viewed as less important employees, but rather, for the other reason you mentioned -- they're the ones out in the field. Having them wear a uniform does a few things: It keeps the company image visible to the public, and it also provides customers with at least some insurance that the random doofus knocking on their door or asking to be let into the office is, in fact, there for a legitimate reason.

      In some cases the "uniform" is less to maintain a uniform appearance among employees and more of a practical consideration. You offered mechanics at dealerships as an example. They're wearing coveralls because that's the only practical garment for someone who will be tinkering with grease and oil-covered engines all day. What would you suggest they wear, a suit? Besides, any dealership worth a damn appreciates skilled mechanics.

      Similarly, a chef's clothes are practical as well, at least to an extent. The crisp white looks clean and hygenic and that's important for people to see from a chef. The pockets along the sleeves and shirtfront are useful for carrying thermometers and other tools, and the double-breasted construction can be reversed to hide any accidental stains. And you'd better believe that in any fine restaurant, the chef is highly valued.

      Another notable counterexample to your list is an airline pilot, who, particularly the more senior ones, can command an impressive salary with all kinds of perks and benefits, and is obviously nowhere near the bottom of the totem pole.

      Pretty much anyone in uniform is on the lower end of the totem pole.

      Perhaps, but at least in our culture, people expect service personnel to be in uniform. Your examples are all service personnel. And the truth is, helpdesk is the lowest end of the totem pole in IT.

      Having worked helpdesk before I naturally balk at the idea, but in most places, I don't see how helpdesk is fundamentally any different from the waiters, cashiers, bus drivers, skycaps, security guards, and so forth, all of whom we expect to be in uniform.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:06PM (#30587308)

    Recently the idea has been floated up the management chain to have these help desk workers wear IT department branded shirts. The idea is to promote visibility and unity.

    ...

    Is the singling out of 6 employees as 'the IT guys' a step in the right direction, or does it detract from the professionalism that we are trying to display as a department?

    Better question: Is your Help Desk projecting an image of service or are they too focused as being seen as "professionals"?

    It seems to me that your management wants to label your Help Desk staff so that people will be more comfortable in approaching them with issues. This, if it were true, is a HUGE RED FLAG to everyone in your department. If your Help Desk isn't helpful, its just a desk, and it is likely way, way, way too expensive in that light. If the shirts thing doesn't work, expect workforce changes.

    Someone needs to recon what your management thinks of the team as a whole, without focusing too much on the dress code issue, before you decide to respond in any particular way. Changes need to be made. Preferably changes to your liking rather than the more heavy-handed flavor.

  • Silly management (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrLov3 (1025033) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:10PM (#30587406)
    This is what happens as the company grows
    It goes Dilbert on itself.
    This is what happens when people too stupid to do any real work and who've been replaced by a bash script gets promoted to middle management because you can't get rid of them due to union rules and stuff.
    You know how they got the management position? A: The parkinson law : Upper management doesn't want their job threatened by a younger, smarter, more active, more educated middle manager, so they promote somebody dumber then themselves and the guy under hires some1 dumber then himself and so on .....

    Uniforms is lack a respect for you tech support guys, uniform is a school's tool to reduce violence and bullying by unifying every1 thus eliminating gangs and groups. It's not for a job place, it's a joke to think about it, if they had respect, they would ask you to wear a suit and a tie, but then you would be in par with ur middle management guy, he is not gonna put you on that level, he is also prolly afraid that you'll write another bash script to replace the middle management positions.


    Hey while I think of it, a script that creates and assigns random useless task and complains a lot could replace my boss.
  • by rueger (210566) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:13PM (#30587450) Homepage
    My God. If your employer wants a uniform (or uniform appearance) you wear the shirt. Who cares? They're paying your salary, so they call the shots.

    In the grand scheme of workplace complaints this is so low on the list as to be not worth mentioning.
  • Not just fast food (Score:3, Informative)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:18PM (#30587540) Journal

    When I worked in technical marketing, making low six figures, we wore polo shirts provided by the company that had the product names for which one was responsible stitched above the pocket. If your area of responsibility included several products, you could end up with a closet full of free polo shirts. I wouldn't consider that "fast food-ish". Of course, they were nice, cotton shirts that fit well. I would perhaps feel different if they were 100% polyester or vinyl one-size-fits-all monstrosities like I had to wear as a busboy in college.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:22PM (#30587608)

    One of the companies i worked at had a standard,
    Tan pants and
    dress shirt or company logo'd shirt.

    But it applied to everyone, even the president.

    I'd find it a bit demeaning if it was limited to the help desk only.

  • by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:32PM (#30587780)

    If I were the IT manager, I wouldn't want extra visibility for the IT guys, because it seems to me it would encourage users to circumvent the proper helpdesk channels. Whenever a uniformed IT guy walks by, I can just hear the one-off requests/questions, that would be completely untrackable.

    Besides, I always thought in the best-run shops, you never knew that IT existed. :)

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @06:50PM (#30588048) Homepage

    Seriously - doctors, nurses, mechanics, police officers, firemen, geeze, a *bunch* of legitimate professionals wear uniforms, many with pride. Now, you're thinking "I'm an office worker, I'm above that". I don't know. Being in a service industry (and that's what IT is within your company - an inward-facing service division) I think a uniform can actually make some sense in this case. I'd like to know more about their reasoning, though. As others have said, maybe it's just a way to get you to dress somewhat normally.

    How about a trade-off - you wear the uniform but you also get a company car?

  • by Gavin Scott (15916) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @08:55PM (#30589276)

    I've been thinking about this issue recently in the context of highly intelligent, customer facing, problem solving employees, and I've come to the conclusion that uniforms, or at least the idea of a "virtual uniform" is one that has value both for the company *and* the employee.

    The uniform is a means toward conformity, and as such both attempts to mold the individual into some standard and also serves as an indicator to others that this individual has certain abilities and responsibilities which set their expectations before an encounter has begun.

    If you're not wearing a uniform, then you're on your own as an individual to impress your customer. You will take any comments they make personally, and you may feel compelled to act "cool" in a "Yo, what's happening, I'm so awesome" kind of way to try to protect your own ego. This is all really bad from the customer's point of view.

    When wearing a uniform, you're taking on the persona of that uniform and what it stands for (your company) and to a great degree you *are* the company when you wear it. This means that if someone whines or complains at you, they're not really attacking you but the company. This can allow you the freedom to act in the ways the job requires, which may include being subservient to your customers (oddly enough we usually work for them rather than the other way round, no matter how much we like to think otherwise). You can leave your own ego and attitude at home and feel ok doing things, and behaving in ways, that you as an individual would not be comfortable with. If you make a mistake, the uniform even takes some of the blame off of you the individual.

    Smart techies encountering a new customer often expect to immediately be treated with respect and reverence, when in reality such respect has to be earned each time. Wearing a uniform helps with this too, as respect you build will apply to everyone wearing that same uniform and so the next person who has to deal with that customer will get more benefit from the relationship you've already created with them.

    So I think there are definite advantages to being able to hide your self/ego behind a uniform at times. The uniform doesn't even have to be an actual physical thing. Just understanding the concept that when you're working you're not just Joe The Individual, but Joe of YourCompany, can help you deal with a lot of the ego/respect issues that arise when you're serving whoever your customers are.

    G.

  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @09:55PM (#30589668)
    ... they've said nothing about pants. Making me wear pants to work would just be too much, IMO.
  • Doing uniforms right (Score:3, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @10:56PM (#30590048) Homepage

    If you're going to do it, do it right. Check out VF Imagewear [vfimagewear.com], the leading supplier of business uniforms. They even have a downloadable design tool.

    There are several ways to go. One is a lab coat, [vfimagewear.com] like the ones doctors wear. Aerospace companies have used those for decades. Another is auto-company style uniforms. [vfimagewear.com] Avoid ball caps unless you get the entire SWAT-team ensemble, which they offer.

  • armbands? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Aurisor (932566) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @11:17PM (#30590168) Homepage

    You might want to float the idea of having armbands. They're unobtrusive, sharp, and have been shown in the past to foster a sense of shared identity.

    Might want to give a little thought to putting a logo of some sort on it too...maybe one of those Indian good luck symbols...you know, something simple that looks good in black and white.

  • Original Series, NextGen, DSN or Voyager. Seems reasonable to me.
  • Hockey Jersey's (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @12:32PM (#30595120)

    As many have mentioned, it depends on the uniform.

    If it was something like a golf shirt with a small monogrammed IT logo, it wouldn't bother me, as that's pretty much what I wear to work anyway (and pants).

    If it was something really distinctive and cool, like custom Hockey Jersey's with teams names and logos, and my name on the back with a number, I think that would also be fun!

    If however it was something I felt was lame or stupid, when then I guess I wouldn't like it very much.

  • by josepha48 (13953) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @01:13PM (#30595986) Journal
    and person. If it is a short sleeve shirt and you get cold in the office can you wear a sweater or jacket? If it is a long sleeve shirt can yo roll up you're sleeves? Who would clean these uniforms and how many of them would you have?

    I can see doing this so people know who the IT guys are, but I think badges would be better. Tell them you want cotten cause you are allergic to polyester :))

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