Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Staff must look the part

Shropshire company bosses should think carefully before imposing strict dress codes on their staff.

Lynsey Woolley, from our Employment Team, said: “Understandably companies want their employees to dress appropriately in the workplace, but the rules need to be fair. It’s vital that a dress code does not discriminate against any sector of the workforce by introducing rules that affect only men or only women.”

She said some dress codes may be dictated by health and safety rules (if employees needed to wear protective clothing), and others may be influenced by the professional image of the company.

“In these cases, you may decide that staff should not have any body piercings or tattoos on show, and that tops should not be low cut or expose the employee’s stomach. It’s entirely up to each individual company which rules they set, but if you’re going to have a definite policy, it will need to be enforced correctly.”

Lynsey said if a company was introducing a dress code for the first time, or was making significant changes to existing rules, staff consultation would be a good idea.

“You should also ensure your managers receive training and advice on how to implement the rules, so they are sensitive to any possible discrimination issues.

“The appearance of your staff reflects directly on the professional image of your company, and in today’s challenging economic times, it’s important to do all you can to stay ahead of the competition. Ensuring your employees look the part could well give you a head start in terms of securing that vital deal.”

Friday, 14 August 2009

Cycling success for Louise

A solicitor from our Commercial Property team has beaten all expectations by clocking up 345 miles in a national cycling time trial.

Louise Clowes has a passion for extreme sports, and was persuaded to take part in the 24-hour trial by clubmates at Lyme RC. “We decided to try to get a team of three around the national course, cycling loops to cover as many miles as possible during the 24 hours,” said Louise.

“My target in my head was 300 miles, and I started off thinking that anything more than that would be a bonus. In fact I eventually cycled 345 miles.”

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Louise – the first 200 miles passed without incident, with regular pit-stops. “The third block of cycling was the hardest, riding out at about 2am knowing that pretty much the whole segment would be done in the dark and cold. By 5am, a lack of sleep and proper food meant I started to hallucinate, and I actually fell asleep on my bike and crashed.

“I really thought my time trial was over and went back to my tent hoping for some sleep. But after 45 minutes rest, a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea, which worked wonders, I was back on the bike and completed almost another five hours in the saddle.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have finished the trial and to have achieved such a great distance beating all my targets.”

Louise is a keen triathlete in her spare time, and competes in a wide range of events from sprint distance to the tough Ironman format.

Pic: Louise Clowes in training on the GPM10 Haute Savoie Training Camp