Casually dressed staff at Walsall Council told to smarten up for virtual meetings

Casually dressed workers have been told to smarten up when they appear on virtual meetings at Walsall Council.

A screenshot of a previous virtual Walsall Council meeting.
A screenshot of a previous virtual Walsall Council meeting.

Councillor Chris Towe told a meeting of the authority’s personnel committee that he had seen staff “dressed inappropriately” when taking part in significant forums.

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said some staff had already been spoken about how the presented themselves in online meetings. He also said some of the staff dressed casually were senior officers.

HR bosses are planning to draw up guidelines which require employees to be more suitably dressed in business attire in future meetings.

The issue was raised at Monday’s meeting during a discussion on Walsall Council’s refreshed code of conduct, which was approved by members of the committee.

Councillor Towe said: “I’m a bit pedantic on how people dress. In many a Teams meeting when people have been at home, I think people are dressed inappropriately. You know, (wearing) T-shirts where senior people are in meetings.

“I wonder who judges what is appropriate and what staff should be wearing when they are on a Teams meeting when you could have some significant people there.”

Councillor Bird added: “I think there is a very good point there. I’ve seen this on Teams.

“When we’ve got people representing this council and they are the front face of the council. I know there are guidelines and people have been pulled up over their dress code.

“There are some I’ve seen – some senior people I have to say – who could be dressed a little more appropriately.”

Michele Leith, Walsall Council’s director of HR said: “There are some instances perhaps when individuals should be wearing more business attire than they necessarily have been.

“We are looking at some guidelines around meeting etiquette.”

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