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Uniforms For the Help Desk?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the must-include-spock-ears-and-jester-shoes dept.

IT 837

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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Tell it to the plastic clown (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587036)

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

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587176)

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".

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (5, Insightful)

emc (19333) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

WEAR IT !! I KNOW SIX GUYS FROM INDIA WHO WILL !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587306)

Wear it or wear out - the door !!

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (4, Funny)

UnxMully (805504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587374)

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?

A garrotte in training?

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587336)

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.

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587182)

Unless they shamlessly asked their boss for something out of the ThinkGeek catalogue. THAT might make their bosses think twice about a uniform code, am I right?

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (3, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587328)

The assless chaps and leather vest are nice but I think the ball gag would interfere with conversations.

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (2, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587350)

How about something like this [thinkgeek.com] ? Even if they embroidered "IT" onto it, that'd still be great ;)

(Waves hand) "This is not the operating system you are looking for."

Or for a similar style, perhaps this [thinkgeek.com] .

Just seems appropriate for the IT staff. ;)

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587216)

It's a free shirt, it's no big deal. Anyone that has an issue with this, is just a clown without the suite. What I would say is you guys are very fat staffing wise. 500:1 is the industry norm these days with 250:1 being ideal. Sounds like a they have money to burn.

We have over 1000+ employees and 2 help desk guys and 11 people in IT and it's soup to nuts. Now we are cut past the bone lean at moment.

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587314)

It depends on what the company does. We're 7 IT staff for 200 on-site workers. But what we do is heavily dependent on IT.

Oblig. (5, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587224)

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

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587238)

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:Tell it to the plastic clown (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587266)

Cool, let it bug you somewhere else then. Here's your pink slip..

Seriously though, the guy needs to just buck up and wear the shirt. I would wear a clown suit for what they pay me.

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587362)

Cool, let it bug you somewhere else then. Here's your pink slip..

Seriously though, the guy needs to just buck up and wear the shirt. I would wear a clown suit for what they pay me.

Would you wear it for what they pay people who are forced to wear uniforms like these? Because whatever you make, I guarantee it's not going to be anywhere close to what these poor guys make.

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (2, Insightful)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587346)

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?

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (1)

Solidblu (241490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587352)

I feel like this would be closer to digital janitors then fast food.

Re:Tell it to the plastic clown (3, Insightful)

bensode (203634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587372)

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.

Would you like fries with that? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587046)

Lol. Yeah, to hell with that.

IT is going blue collar (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587054)

You are blue collar workers, get use to it.

Re:IT is going blue collar (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587310)

Blue ESD smocks [botron.com] are actually a good idea.

Re:IT is going blue collar (2, Insightful)

Jim Robinson Jr. (853390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587412)

I hate to disillusion you, but IT has always been blue collar.

Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587060)

The janitors where you work probably wear uniforms too.

Singled out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587074)

The idea is to promote visibility and unity.

What does this mean? So they can blame and harass you in person, give you swirlies, etc.?

professionals? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587076)

or does it detract from the professionalism

Hi. You arent professionals. You are hired monkeys. Get used to your uniform since your skills are on par with a burger flipper.

I know style they Should be (4, Funny)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587080)

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

Re:I know style they Should be (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587344)

Make sure that they buy you at least 5 shirts per person, so that you don't have to do laundry every night and end up with faded out pink shirts.

Assuming you live that long, since most redshirts die in the first five minutes

Well... (4, Funny)

Guil Rarey (306566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587090)

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

Re:Well... (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587156)

Nope. I suspect it's horizontal stripes in black and white...

Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587094)

That's alot IT staff for only 500 employees. Our organization is 13,000 employees with 10 IT Staff.

Re:Economy (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587330)

That's alot IT staff for only 500 employees. Our organization is 13,000 employees with 10 IT Staff.

Yeah, this seems like a management issue on several fronts. First, why do you need one IT person for every 17 people in the company? Second, if the manager's stated idea (and I'm betting it's the head "IT guy" who had this idea) is to "promote visibility and unity" for the IT group, why is it only the helpdesk guys have to wear the shirts?

I'd guess the REAL reason is something like this. Some higher-up complained to the IT manager - it may have been about the helpdesk, or it very well may have been about the IT manager himself. This scared Mr. Manager, who in the best "bad manager" tradition came up with a really stupid idea that he thinks will make it look like a) he's actually doing something, and b) his role as manager of the brownshirts is vital.

Professionalism (4, Interesting)

numbsafari (139135) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Professionalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587206)

There is no point in going out to buy nice clothes if management is already floating the idea of uniforms. Wait and see what they decide, and then buy new clothes if necessary.

But honestly, my best advice is to get out of Help Desk. Go far enough up the IT chain that your job is too important to have to deal with degrading uniforms and other such nonsense.

Re:Professionalism (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587250)

"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 out of the way.

Re:Professionalism (1)

maxwave (1001657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587342)

The right image will enhance your treatment by others. I remember working with casually dressed telecom workers while my employer required a dress shirt and tie. It was interesting to see how much I was respected. The telecom workers were not treated with the same level of respect. Ever since that time, I always make sure my image represents my value as a business asset.

News for nerds... (1)

trickyrickb (910871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587098)

Stuff that matters.

n0x0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587100)

Why not - I once had the same idea... All my co-workers agreed but management declined...

YMCA! (1)

John Utah (1318581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587104)

I would be upset.

Hygiene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587110)

See what happens when you have good hygiene?

Identification (1)

iso-cop (555637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587118)

Other than to identify you as someone who should be touching their computer, I see no value. How about a special badge (if people at your company wear badges) or a jester's hat? ;->

I like uniforms (5, Insightful)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (3, Insightful)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587230)

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.

Re:I like uniforms (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587390)

I wore one for 6 years and couldn't disagree more. I don't know how much time you spend thinking about what you're going to wear to work, but for me, it's a process that doesn't take any longer than putting my clothes on. Grab a pair of pants, while I'm putting them on spot a shirt that doesn't clash, then reach left or right for shoes that "go."

Oh, and the reason I prefer not to wear a uniform is so I can express myself. My employer can't take away my individuality!

That's right. No one will ever mistake me for a metrosexual.

Better areas for Company $$$ (1)

bagboy (630125) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587128)

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???

Other Roles Would Be Good Too (3, Funny)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Other Roles Would Be Good Too (4, Funny)

rainmaestro (996549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587246)

For the accountants, a nice big "A" emblazoned on the breast. Perhaps in a lovely scarlet color.

Nothing wrong with the idea (5, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Nothing wrong with the idea (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587418)

When your skills outgrow the help desk - and they should - consider losing the uniform as a perk of advancement.

Or in reverse, wearing the uniform is a punishment. I guess management thinks morale is too high in the department? Maybe you could compromise and they could just verbally insult you, or break out the paddles (thank you sir may I have another).

Perfect opportunity (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587140)

I recommend something in this style [wordpress.com] .

Re:Perfect opportunity (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587294)

Re:Perfect opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587354)

I'm actually wearing that exact shirt right now while working on help desk

I don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587154)

It seems a bit odd for doing it with "Just 6 guys", but it doesn't strike me as an outright bad idea. These are the dispatch folks, I assume, who get sent on the floor to deal with customers?

There are a lot of pro, feel-good type reasons why this could be a good idea, but if you're convinced its a step from asking "do you want fries with that?", you're not likely to be persuaded the benefits.

Is the company paying for the shirts?

Are they offering propeller beanies as well? (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587158)

n/t

Depends on the current atmosphere (1)

alanmusician (734071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587164)

Our IT staff has the option of wearing a uniform, which is provided by the company for off-site work, and they have taken to wearing it Monday-Friday even though it's not required. They do this for the reasons that you mentioned. I don't think your IT staff is going to mind unless they're already harassed by bureaucracy. If that is the case, they'll probably take it as a fascist move. It probably won't do anything to change the atmosphere unless you've got problems with the atmosphere already.

Superhero costumes to hide true identities (4, Funny)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Superhero costumes to hide true identities (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587326)

Good point. One of the perks of a super hero costume is that it draws so much attention you can't be recognized out in the rest of the world.

I went to the holiday party for the company this year. Because I'm just a voice on the phone to most people, I went almost completely unrecognized. It was kind of nice.

Re:Superhero costumes to hide true identities (3, Funny)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587424)

Yea, and when /insert supervillan here/ attacks. The extra time spent killing the POD's would provide time for the others to escape.
brilliant

Storm

Kind of stupid (2, Interesting)

linuxgurugamer (917289) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587178)

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 "common" uniform, which is the only thing that would "unify" the department and promote it's visibility.

This is different from technicians who go out and support customers in the field. This sounds like a really stupid idea.

Idea has been floated up the management chain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587180)

In most companies, the shit flows in the opposite direction.

star trek uniforms (1)

chri (115088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587184)

what about star trek uniforms?

Say goodbye to your lunchbreak (5, Insightful)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

The company's paying... (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587190)

They pay my wage... if they are willing to buy four company shirts of my choice... sure I'd wear them.

I once worked helpdesk, during university (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587194)

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.

Meh, uniforms arn't entirely a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587198)

are they supplying the shirts? are they much different than standard 'buisness casual'

If they are supplying them (and in sufficent quantity per persona) and they donj't look like fast food uniforms, who cares?

IT guys do have a rep for dressing sloppy.
This could also be a trial for your company to go with logo'd clothing for more staff, and they just picked your dept to try it out.

If however they make you buy the shirts, then you probably have a valid beef if they arn't doing it company wide.

I suggest Armani suits (1)

doginthewoods (668559) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587204)

paid for by the company, of course. And worn with cotton gloves.

If required, wear them. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587210)

I don't get the disdain for uniforms. I don't like them and I won't wear them unless I am required to do so by my job.

I currently wear, as a consultant, business to business casual wear.

The fat lazy slobs at the COLO tend to wear jeans and at best a polo. They are a miserable bunch of lazy fatasses who rather sit in the dark corners of the world and not deal with "stupid users".

Professional people wear professional attire. Sloppy people dress sloppy. I wear jeans and t-shirts when I'm not working.

The idea that I have a right to dress as I like while someone else is paying me is ludicrous.

You are not entitled to wear what you want. If you won't wear the uniform under any circumstances, and I understand there are some uniforms I won't wear that include and are not limited to hats, pink and kilts, I won't accept the job or I'll wear it until I can find another.

More Security.. Or wait it would be less.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587212)

I think it's a good idea but I really have not heard of it before. Because IT can get access to some sensitive information having shirts might increase security a bit. At the same time, giving an automatic access to employee just because of their shirt could also be a security whole as in old school phreaking with the phone company.

What?! (2, Insightful)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587218)

You have 30 people in IT staff for a company of 500 people?! You lucky bastard!

Seems intended to separate you (1)

WeekendKruzr (562383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587220)

The guy who had this idea is right about one thing: it probably will unite you, in the same that a shared traumatic experience unites the survivors, ie. shared suffering. This will probably unite the people who are wearing it, but only because the rest of the company will then separated from you. This seems to be a particularly bad idea for a career track that already has a reputation for causing some mild social isolation. You will have made yourselves into a distinct group but this will also have a price: [b]the reset of the company will not be in that group.[/b]

Uniform=Assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587222)

Like any uniform, expectations and implications will come with wearing it. In your case, more people may see you more as a clerk than an executive. It also might make your appearance slightly more inviting, which can be undesirable.

Can't you already be identified by ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587232)

your barcode tattoos? Or rather, if no dress code was enforced, wouldn't you all be wearing black T-shirts that say "No, I won't fix your computer."

The First Step (1)

sskinnider (1069312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587236)

This is the first step in making you blue collar workers.

Re:The First Step (1)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587296)

Are surgeons (who have to wear scrubs) and airline pilots (who have to wear uniforms) on their way to blue-collar status?

Are you colleagues or janitors? (4, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587244)

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.

Army Attire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587252)

If I had an IT department I'd make them wear uniforms, most IT guys I've dealt with look like they can't afford to shop at the salvation army.

Not surprising, but kinda unusual (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587254)

Branded uniforms are usually only applied to externally-facing positions. It is unusual to wear a uniform if you only provide helpdesk services within the company. But when I have had to do that, I didn't find it that stifling. Especially if you have some say in the design. But... it does seem like overkill.

Perhaps you can suggest an alternative - like a special pin or badge or pocket protector (jk about that last one). That might make management happy without forcing entire uniforms. With uniforms comes the usual complaints about who replaces them if they get torn or worn-out, and having to create a policy for it. It is usually a headache for the company.

Polyester and boobies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587264)

We tried that at my company for our engineering team. Learn from our mistakes and use the following formula.

Add each employee's weight and divide by number of employees. If result is greater than 230lbs, do not order polyester blend polo/golf shirts. Go with the 100% cotton ones. Aging men, nipples, and polyester do not blend. Unless your into that kind of thing.

30 IT people in a 500 employee company?! (3, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587272)

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.

Re:30 IT people in a 500 employee company?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587404)

It might not be an IT company. Maybe they make automotive transmissions or heating equipment or something like that.

True at an IT company I'd expect a ratio more like 0.8+, but not all companies are IT companies, in which case I'd expect more like 0.8 on whatever they *do* do.

lovely (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

my guesses (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587282)

First guess, someone in the help desk is coming in a little to dirty or smelly. And as the saying goes, if everyone else smells fine...
Second guess, mental laziness. They want to be able to do a hey you, without remembering who you are. it's like being able to locate the janitor because of their attire. To most people your a service, not a person. But then again so are cops, paramedics, and ER doctors.

Storm

Uniforms are communication (1)

Primitive Pete (1703346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587290)

The real issue of concern for me would be that many uniforms are associated with either semi-skilled jobs (fast food) or positions that require special garments to perform work (soldiers, firefighters). Most help-desk people that I've known (and the one I used to be) think of themselves as office professionals. What message does the uniform send to the non-IT staff with whom the help desk has contact. Clearly, you don't want to send messages that amount to either "semi-skilled" or "willing to move filing cabinets."

Optional? (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587304)

think about it, free T-Shirts, no ironing. Sounds pretty good to me, why would I want to wear out my clothes.

I'd personally take it as a sign of dissonance (3, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Sounds like BS to me (1)

pileated (53605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587312)

I'd ask yourselves this question: do you think you need to 'promote visibility and unity'? It sounds like most people already know who you are. Do you need 'unity' then? Is this how you'd prefer to 'promote unity'?

My guess it that the answer is no. In that case I'd ask management to have enough guts to tell you what they really want. If they think you dress like slobs they should tell you so. I have no sympathy at all with gutless management and you shouldn't either.

Departmental shirts Professionalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587318)

Whether you wear department shirts won't affect the professionalism.

The right answer depends on:

1) the culture of the company at large, and of the IT group in particular. Heck, if you "have fun" with it, it could be a big plus
2) whether there is some other lurking problem you have not mentioned the shirts attempt to address

500:30 = Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587322)

Sheesh, where I come from we have 500 employees and only 8 IT workers with 2 of them running the helpdesk. We have a very well equipped datacenter but our IT department runs on a very lean payroll, too lean if you ask me.

This makes me wonder what the average everyone-to-IT ratio is at other companies our size.

Professional is as professional does... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587324)

having to wear a costume- er, excuse me, uniform- is demeaning, conformist, and totally out of line with the professional attitude i've strived to cultivate as an IT worker.

unless the uniform consists of ripped, sleeveless "megadeth" t-shirts, in which case it's all the same.

Of course it's a step in the right direction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587332)

Of course, it doesn't go nearly far enough. Aren't they going to make you all get the same haircut and talk with the same accent as well? I assume one of the 6 is female? After all, the rest of you already seem to have had your balls taken away for conformity.

Oh, I see (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587334)

They will be just like Janitors.

Time to find a new job.

there are always dresscodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30587340)

Where i work (A utility company in Brussels, Belgium) the helpdesk and lower IT personel are the only who don't have to wear a suit, just a clean neutral clothing, a long non baggy trouser, a neutral shirt or decent t-shirt and/or pullover (no hoods) and leather shoes (no sneakers, sandals or boots) but for the rest we are free. For the few ladies in our department similar dresscode are made.

All the rest are dressed in suit or for the cleaning/technical upkeep staff, a uniform fitted to their job with company logo's on it.

Lucky you (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587368)

When I worked front-line IT support for UPS back in the 90s, I had to wear dress slacks and a tie. If I was visiting customers I had to wear a suit. This would not be a big deal if the customers worked in offices, but for the most part they worked in the shipping department which was usually in the warehouse which was usually the hottest and dustiest place in the building. Even for internal customers it was a pain. A UPS shipping facility is filthy. There's dust, dirt, grime and it's not air-conditioned. A lot times I was crawling under carts, going up in ceilings to trace cabling, Wearing dress clothes in this environment sucked. Not only did I get filthy almost every day, but my clothes didn't last very long at all.

And I had to walk uphill across conveyor belts to and from school.

Fiddling while Rome burns? (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587380)

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?

The only reason I can see for requiring uniforms where they previously weren't is if the help desk staff aren't already sufficiently professional in their attire. Sometimes that is the case with liberal interpretations and applications of the "business casual" dress code. If they are "client facing", which in this case probably means they actually go to employees' desks to help them sometimes, then I can see it.

Otherwise, it is just a waste of time by someone in upper management who ought to have better things to do. In this economy, I'd imagine almost any company has enough challenges that dress code isn't worth the time spent unless it's a problem.

Look on the bright side... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587388)

Free shirts!

I, for one, welcome our costumed overlords. (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587394)

Seriously, are you frying burgers there? Uniforms just barely make sense in retail and none in an office setting. In the early 90's I sold computer parts over the phone. The office manager thought it would be a good idea for everyone to wear nice shirts and ties to impress the customers over the phone. I wore a loud Hawaiian shirt and the shortest, widest tie I could find. The policy lasted 3 days.

In reality, will you have any say? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30587396)

Apart from packing your bags, will you have any say in the decision? If not, it's either get on the train, or prepare to be run over.

I can see pro- and con- for uniforms or a dress code. Yes, it can portray a common front for a department that is often "unseen" by others in positions of power. The users you serve likely know you and your team members well. It could be a move by management to help other senior staff recognize your presence in their departments, too.

I would be interested in finding out the real motivation for the change. Does anyone on your team tend to dress inappropriately or stretch the boundaries of the casual environment too far? If so, talk to your manager to make sure the entire team is not getting punnished for the actions of one. Others have raised the concept of the employer buying the uniforms. That's been done in many places, but don't hold your breath. If anything, it would be reasonable to expect at least one free shirt (I'm assuming pants will still be up to you, but might need to be a certain color or type--excluding jeans, for example). There certainly will be tax rules regarding required uniforms. My employer reimburses for 'x' uniforms a year (I don't remember how many because my department does not use uniforms), and for 50% of required safety shoes for those who need them. Be sure to get all expectations or details of the new policy in writing, especially as it pertains to costs, reimbursements, and expectations.

My personal guess is that one of your corporate officers spent a lot of time in line at Best Buy (or a similar location) before Christmas. He probably noticed all of the associates in their blue polo shirts and tan pants, except for the Geek Squad which was wearing it's black and white motiff. "Management by standing in line" may well be the new "management by magazine". Either that, or someone who can make the decisions has a laid off sister-in-law who just happened to start an embroidery business...

Silly management (3, Interesting)

DrLov3 (1025033) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.
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