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The Face of Your Self-Storage Operation: Managers With Piercings, Tattoos and Colorful Hair

Tattoos and face piercings are becoming more commonplace in the workforce, particularly in retail settings such as self-storage. Regardless of your personal views, your business should have a policy on body adornments, dress code and even hair color. Here are some things to consider.

Amy Campbell

March 17, 2016

3 Min Read
The Face of Your Self-Storage Operation: Managers With Piercings, Tattoos and Colorful Hair

By Amy Campbell  

A few years ago, I made a bold decision. I got a tattoo. On my wrist. While I had several others, it was the first time I was putting ink on a place that was not easily concealed. Sure, I could wear a long-sleeved shirt if need be, but I live in Arizona so long sleeves aren’t always an option. Before I made the choice, I had to consider how the tattoo would be perceived by all who see it—including my current and any future employers. Fortunately, I work for a pretty progressive company and it wasn’t an issue at all. Others may not be so lucky. For example, it wasn’t too long ago that PetSmart, where my future daughter-in-law works, began allowing visible tattoos, face piercings and even vibrantly colored hair. Needless to say, you see a lot more PetSmart employees with nose earrings, pink hair and paw-print tattoos these days.

One reason there’s been a shift by companies to be more accepting of face jewelry, tattoos and—to some degree—body modifications is the younger workforce. These outward adornments are simply more readily accepted by the Gen-Y clan. Some companies have followed suit, lifting bans on purple locks and septum rings. Other businesses are keeping conservative by asking employees to keep these embellishments under wraps.

Regardless of whether you love or loath tattoos and piercings, you need to recognize this change in what society deems acceptable and how it could affect your business. Because a self-storage manager is the “face” of your facility, you must decide what’s acceptable in your front office—and you need to put it in writing. The easiest way to make your policy crystal-clear is by including it in your employee manual. However, be careful when drafting these guidelines. They shouldn’t imply tattoos, piercings, blue-dyed hair or other body modifications are “bad” or “immoral.” Don’t pass judgment or make negative assumptions about the people who choose these things.

Rather, craft a policy that simply states the facts. For example, if you think it's inappropriate, your policy might say, “no visible tattoos” or “no face piercings.” Or perhaps you just want employees to cover tattoos if they have nudity or profanity. Piercings might be limited to just ears. Also, your rules need to be applied to all genders and ages. You also need to consider religious-based adornments, which could mean making exceptions.

In fact, your guidelines should address a whole lot more than just tattoos and piercings, including how employees dress. Many storage managers don’t just sit behind a desk all day. They might be tasked with cleaning units, planting new flowers or trimming bushes, and dusting the retail store. All of these duties could lead to dirty clothes, not to mention the difficulty completing them while wearing dress wear. On the other hand, cut-off shorts, flip flops and tank tops are probably not the best representation of a business either.

As self-storage continues to move toward a more retail atmosphere, many companies are adopting dress codes that include shirts with logos as well as dress slacks or khakis, and specific footwear. Some single-site facilities are keeping the dress code pretty casual, allowing managers to be comfortably but professionally dressed. Whether employees should wear uniforms of some type really depends on ownership and manager preference. Some employees would be grateful they don’t need to buy shirts for work, while others are more comfortable in colors and styles of their own choosing.  

How managers present themselves to your customers should be based on what’s best for the business. Before drafting—or amending—your policies on dress code, tattoos, piercings, etc., consider what other retail companies are doing. Think about your manager’s daily tasks, your customer base and the overall image you want to project about your business. Then write a solid policy and require employees to read and sign it. Finally, be sure to enforce it consistently and fairly.

What’s your policy on dress code, tattoos and other adornments? Post your comment below or in this Self-Storage Talk thread.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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