Beards In The Workplace

Short of being Chuck Norris or Christian Bale during his stint as Batman, beards have traditionally been frowned upon in workplace in the past twenty years. Times are changing, however, and perhaps the perception of beards are as well. For starters, many industries strictly forbid beards for various reasons. The military is one of the bigger of these industries. If you plan on joining the military anytime soon you can forgo the facial hair unless for religious or health reasons. Typical law enforcement agencies and other various governmental agencies also enforce a clean shaven appearance for all of their male employees. The most common cited reason is a desire for employees to maintain a “professional and clean” appearance.

Historically, society has waged war with its views on all types of hair. In the past communities tended to take a skeptical, “unhygienic” stance on the topic. Don’t take it personally, they aren’t saying that you specifically are dirty, it’s just a direct representation of how society has viewed facial hair in the past years. Oddly enough, even the integrity and honesty of men involved in law is questioned when said lawyer faces the public wearing any sort of facial hair. Another industry that you may find some skepticism in is the food industry, for obvious reasons. If you handle or are around food most employers will require you to wear a beard net, which is exactly what it sounds like. Keep in mind that with some jobs, the banning of beards is essential to one’s safety. A fireman, for instance, is required to shave so that facial hair cannot break the seal of his oxygen mask.  With that being said, there are many, many other industries out there where beards are fair game. 

According to an article by New York Times, the key to pulling off a beard in the workplace is “striking the right balance of hair and common sense”. Sorry guys, this means reigning it in a bit. In a society armed with vast amounts of employers who value teamwork and conformity over individuality, it may be best not to push your limits. A freshly trimmed short length beard is sure to be met with far more approval than Duck Dynasty’s knee length atrocities. Again, use common sense. As stated in previous articles, no one enjoys a scraggly or unkempt beard. Beards of this sort leave you looking unclean and uncared for. No matter how much you paid for that suit your clients are almost certain to leave swearing that you had some sort of foul musk attached to your presence. It is also extremely important to keep in mind the nature of the business you work for. A brand new, innovative company that targets a younger clientele is most likely going to be more supportive of your bearded adventures than a 100-year-old community bank. As with anything in business, keep in mind the people you work for and with.

As stated in previous articles, no one enjoys a scraggly or unkempt beard. Beards of this sort leave you looking unclean and uncared for. No matter how much you paid for that suit your clients are almost certain to leave swearing that you had some sort of foul musk attached to your presence. It is also extremely important to keep in mind the nature of the business you work for. A brand new, innovative company that targets a younger clientele is most likely going to be more supportive of your bearded adventures than a 100-year-old community bank. As with anything in business, keep in mind the people you work for and with.

The theme of this article is common sense. While today’s society is quickly embracing the individual and all of its quirks, this does not mean to run out and grow a two-foot beard on a whim. Keep it classy, gents.


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