The Key to Employee Comfort: Choice!

This blog post, originally published in 2017, was updated in 2023.

Even when we recognize a requirement is in our best interest, it’s human nature to resist being told what to do. However, when people have options – even when all those options meet the requirements – they are more likely to comply, more likely to be comfortable, and more likely to be satisfied. The same goes for PPE programs. Follow along with The Power of Choice to explore the top 5 reasons cited by safety managers for moving to a choice-based AR / FR clothing program.

Comfort is usually top of mind when deciding what to wear. There are many factors that contribute to comfort including a physical element – how the garment fits and feels – and an emotional element – how you feel when you wear the garment. Both are extremely subjective, differing from person to person, day to day.

What is physically comfortable to you may not be for someone else. Next time you’re in a room of 10 or more people, take note of what everyone is wearing. You almost always find people in both short sleeves and long sleeves; natural fibers, synthetic fibers, and blends; knit pullovers and woven button ups; one, two, or three layers; and lighter and heavier fabrics, even though everyone is exposed to the same temperature and humidity across the room.

Similarly, how you feel in your clothing is subjective.  People generally have a style “comfort zone.” When you feel good in what you are wearing you get a bounce in your step and a boost in confidence leading to improved productivity. Venture too far outside your comfort zone and you may feel distracted, unsure of yourself, and less motivated.

These aspects of human nature should be considered when choosing a arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing or PPE program.

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Oftentimes, employers decide that the easiest path to compliance is offering a single shirt and pant combination in a single fabric, weight, style, and color. This is especially common with uniform rental programs, which have traditionally been utilized to outfit commercial and industrial electricians for NFPA 70E compliance and are financially incented to limit the volume of clothing in service.

The problem with this type of no-choice program is that workers aren’t always going to be comfortable in the clothing chosen for them. Employees who are uncomfortable may decide to alter (rolling up sleeves, taking off protective layers, etc.) or – worse – not wear protective garments altogether. This can lead to potentially expensive non-compliance issues and and – critically – could result in a safety incident.

The good news is that there is a solution: offer a choice program, allowing workers to choose from a reasonable array of styles, colors, weights, fabrics, and brands (all meeting your company’s protective, budgeting, and company image needs). Consequently, workers are more likely to be happy with their clothing selections and therefore more likely to wear the required clothing and care for it, meaning less compliance issues for the company. It’s a win, win!

Bottom line: employee-level choice programs deliver comfort and satisfaction – which drives compliance with safety requirements. Consider making the switch to a choice-based managed apparel program and watch employee comfort and satisfaction rise.

Not sure where to start? We can help. Contact us today to learn more about Tyndale’s solution, which features an automated company-funded program that provides each employee with an annual allowance or allotment from which employees can purchase a preferred combination of company-approved FR clothing. This makes it easy to harness all of the benefits associated with choice, for workers and management alike.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series which which explores the relationship between choice and access to innovation.


Series: The Power of Choice

Follow along with this series and harness the power of choice to maximize innovation, comfort, compliance, and morale within your workforce – while cutting costs.

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