|Dress up says Community Care senior writer Anabel Unity Sale|
This causes great amusement among my colleagues who, on the whole, turn up to the office in a range of outfits from cowboy boots and skinny jeans to suits worthy of Jackie O. I, on the other hand, tend to wear skirts, girlie shoes (nothing too high) and v-neck jumpers. In the summer I wear smart t-shirts.
When I told one of my colleagues, who shall remain nameless (Janet Snell), I wear jeans at the weekend she replied, “but I thought you woke up in fishnets!” And let’s not even get into the fact that I can’t think without my mascara on.
Wearing the style of clothes I do makes me feel professional and competent; I have a clear boundary between my personal and professional life. I never feel the need to abandon my more formal look on dress down Fridays.
I’ve visited social work offices across Britain and it’s safe to say social workers, on the whole, have a very *ahem* chilled attitude to their appearance. Jeans, trainers and t-shirts are all de rigeur.
It strikes me, how do they function in such informal clothing? How do they maintain a professional boundary with their clients if their clothes give them the impression they are relaxed? I’m not advocating that social workers wear uniforms like the police do but isn’t it about time they smartened up? Doing so would help improve social workers’ image no end.
|Dress down says Community Care deputy editor Janet Snell|
Ok, if one morning you discover the only thing that’s clean is your best outfit, then go ahead and put it on if it makes life easier and get’s you out the door. But as for the idea that smart is the norm except for one day at the end of the week when you are “allowed” to wear jeans, get out of here.
The concept of “Dress Down Friday” which seems to be creeping into office life is just the most hideous idea. I dress down most days of the week and then make a point of dressing up on Friday just to remind myself I’m not a total corporate clone.
I’m sure social workers wouldn’t have any truck with such nonsense. In my experience pretty much anything goes when it comes to social services style – the dress code is there is no dress code, and quite right too.
What could be more alienating for a service user who doesn’t have a bean to their name to be confronted with a professional dressed up to the nines who makes them feel even more down on their luck than they were feeling already. Power dressing should be banished to the boardroom where it belongs.
The Friday Debate: Should social workers dress up or dress down for work?
August 31, 2007 in Workforce
More from Community Care
- ‘It’s my job to make social workers feel safe’
- Do social work your way in Somerset
- Come and ‘Try Before You Apply’ at Somerset County Council
- Join Havering and lead the way on changing the lives of care leavers
- What is it like to be a referral and assessment social worker in York?
- Why your next social work job should be in … Norfolk
- Social work reinvigorated: how Dorset is making social work all about practice not process
- Employer zone – showcasing a selection of the sector’s top recruiters