What’s Your Opinion on Dressing Up for Halloween in the Workplace?
At MCE, we certainly do expect hard work, but also recognize the importance of letting loose and having a good laugh. I would like to introduce you to Lucas, our Administrative and Training Support person by day and Superman by night. Well, not exactly, but on Halloween his wacky sense of humour and adventurist side comes out. While dressing up can be fun for some, the question remains; is dressing up at work a good thing and if so, should it be endorsed?
Let’s start with some interesting statistics! An article by “CNBC Make it” quoted a workplace culture survey that polled 953 full time adult employees asking the question, "Does your place of employment allow employees to dress up and wear a costume to work on Halloween?"
- 45% yes, 35% no and 20% did not know
- 61% of respondents believe they should be able to dress up at work
- Those who were able to dress up demonstrated overall higher engagement. 73% were motivated to contribute to the success of the organization compared to 58% who were not allowed to dress up
- 68% of those allowed to dress up were more likely to be proud to tell others about the organization and 65% would recommend their organization to a friend
- Finally, 73% of those who can dress up support the values of their organization as opposed to 58% who cannot dress up
These statistics support the positive outcomes of dressing up at work. In my opinion, I think dressing up at work is dependent on the job. For example, you may not want to dress up as a giant apple if you are a lawyer trying a case before a judge or dress up as a clown if you are a doctor giving bad news to a patient. However, an office setting might be more conducive. Allowing employees to dress up can give a break from daily stressors and can add an element of fun and creativity to the regular routine.
On the other side of the coin, allowing Halloween costumes at work could result in a variety of unpleasant or legal problems. Employees who decide to dress up, provocatively, or wear a politically incorrect outfit could risk discrimination, harassment complaints or even disciplinary action. In safety sensitive positions, a costume could pose certain Health and Safety risks.
There are many reasons both for and against dressing up at work. If you choose to support dressing up, ensure clear communication to employees of what is considered acceptable and what is inappropriate. Here are a few tips to consider relaying to your staff:
- Ensure costumes are not offensive to others.
- The costume should align with basic dress code policies. E.g. if your dress code policy does not allow tank tops or bare midriffs, your costume shouldn’t either.
- Stay away from politics and cultural appropriation.
- Don’t wear anything gory or gruesome.
- Be careful of dress up props. I would not recommend bringing a replica gun to work.
Lastly, and most importantly, let common sense prevail.
Human Resources Generalist