When the heat is firing, it's difficult to maintain a working environment that is comfortable and cool for all. The summer months often encourage employees to lighten up and loosen up when it comes to their professional dress. While comfort is critical in the workplace, it's also important to maintain a certain image, regardless of what the thermometer says.

Developing a summer dress code that works for your professional standards and your employees' personal tastes is a difficult balancing act. As the temperature rises, revisit your dress code policies and issue employees a reminder with some of the following tips:

  • Safety first. If your workplace is one that may present safety hazards with certain summer clothing items, then these must be addressed. Open toed shoes are popular, yet hazardous in certain working environments. Flip-flops can be distracting and look unprofessional in an office type of setting. Cuts, scrapes and burns can be prevented if employees avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts. Consider the hazards and potential hazards in your workplace when it comes to a dress code that is safe.

  • Undergarments should always be under. Undergarments should not be visible at any time or under any circumstances. Bra straps in particular are culprits in the summer. Obviously this is an issue that might fall into the laps of managers in the organization when someone is in violation.

  • Send the right message. Remind employees that apparel bearing certain messages or product images are not appropriate in the workplace. Controversial wardrobe pieces might include shirts advertising drinks, clubs or those with "witty" sayings that customers or coworkers might find offensive.

  • BE CONSISTENT. Be consistent and firm with all aspects of the dress code. Don't let some employees get away with dress code violations while penalizing others. This can result in a lawsuit, especially where gender discrimination might come into play.

Above all, remind your employees that you want them to be cool and comfortable, yet they must maintain the proper image for the good of the company. Their wellbeing and safety at work is your number one priority, therefore, a summer dress code that works will take an investment from every member of the organization.