Tattoos were once seen as a taboo in the workplace, with professionals forced to wear long sleeves in the middle of July to abide by a company’s dress code. However, businesses have started loosening their restrictions as the war for talent ramps up.
Disney, UPS and Virgin Atlantic have eased some of their dress and style codes in recent years, allowing workers to express their individuality without fear of repercussions.
“We did not allow facial hair; we did not allow natural hair. So, if you’re African American and you wanted to have an afro or twist or braid, that wasn’t permitted. Our tattoo policy was more restrictive than the U.S. Army,” said Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS.
Not only has this allowed for more freedom of expression in the workplace, it also addressed the dissatisfaction amongst workers that has bubbled to the surface in recent years.
This shift comes from the desire to be more authentic both in and outside of work, and tattoos are certainly part of the more diverse workplace.
Disney also underwent a similar policy shift to UPS’ in April of 2021, giving workers a chance to achieve “greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos,” according to Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products.
“Tattoos matter to people, and while there was a time where people may have gotten a tattoo on a whim, more frequently now a tattoo really matters to someone; it’s part of who they are,” said Christopher Bartlett, vice president of people and culture at UPS.