The Media Mix column “Keeping up appearances in the workplace” in the April 28 issue was a real eye-opener. It says office workers at Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Inc. are allowed to wear casual clothes such as jeans and sneakers. The article also says that the company’s advertising will incorporate its employees’ “refreshing fashion style.” This is the most innovative business strategy I’ve ever heard of.
Generally speaking, individuals are guaranteed certain rights by the Constitution, and yet two Osaka subway drivers were harshly criticized for sporting facial hair, while high heels and makeup on female cabin attendants are examples of gender discrimination. Whether public or private, employees should adhere to the established rules, but some rules aren’t reasonable or logical and need to be revised. It is important to note if employees don’t feel comfortable in their workplace. That could make high staff turnover even worse.
Many physicians, nurses and other medical workers wear white coats, which makes them appear clean and reliable. Also, when a fire breaks out in the neighborhood we are much relieved to see firefighter uniforms. In other words, work clothing plays an important role in gaining people’s trust. Therefore, I can’t say easily whether appearance is everything or not.
For me, as a part-time teacher following unwritten rules, I’ve always donned conservative, quiet-colored jackets and pants, which are stiff and unyielding. In addition, I’ve never colored my hair in a bright or striking manner. Instead, I regularly color my hair dark brown to conceal my gray hair. It’s high time to ask the boss for some regulations about clothes, makeup, hair color and other things. In my modest opinion, less conservative attire would be more stress-free and relaxing.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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