We’ve talked about how important a lab coat can be for patients. We’ve talked about a lab coat differentiating between workers in medical facilities and labs. We’ve also talked about the importance and emotional significance of a lab coat at that greatly-anticipated white coat ceremony for graduating medical students.
But how about the benefits to a medical or lab facility? Today, we’re here to contend that labcoats are equally important for laboratories, med and pharmaceutical facilities as they are for their employees, clients and patients. Among other benefits, lab coats can actually increase employees’ sense of team belonging, which in turn increases productivity, the quality of services provided, and ultimately the organization’s image and profit.
Cases where organizations benefit from providing lab coats to employees
Starting with the wearer, let’s talk about protection. The white lab coat is the protective barrier between the wearer and potentially harmful chemicals or substances.
You knew this.
So, surely it just hadn’t occurred to you yet the symbolism that an organization can provide its professionals by providing this basic barrier? You want your employees to work safely and functionally. That lab coat is the essential barrier to germs in the examination room and chemicals in the laboratory. And not only do you want your employees protected, but you want them to have the best equipment to ensure superior protection.
Protection aside, the white lab coat is equally important for psychological reasons that get at the heart of what you want to promote at your organization.
Let’s start with the most important psychoemotional factor. A lab coat is a symbol of scientific rigor and expertise. It distinguishes the wearer (physician, pharmacist, scientist) from other staff members, and it immediately brings a sense of trust and confidence.
It’s been demonstrated throughout research, in fact, that a doctor dressed in lab coat attire can increase patient satisfaction—patients feel more confident, secure, and looked after if their doctor wears a white lab coat. (If you are interested to learn more about this study and the general effects of white lab coats in patient treatment and satisfaction, feel free to take a look in this Dr. James article.)
Another important benefit is the psychology of the wearer, of course. We’re talking about brilliant professionals who have earned their place in your organization, and who have amply earned that white lab coat through persistence, hard work and dedication.
What enabled you to tackle all the obstacles along the way was the dream you had since you were a child? The dream of wearing that lab coat with all the responsibility that comes with it? When an organization takes the initiative to provide that status symbol to those professionals joining their team, it quickly increases confidence and gives employees a feeling of recognition on top of their seasoned self-accomplishment.
If you were to provide lab coats to employees, you would want to provide high-quality lab coats. You would want to select those designer lab coat options that fit employees properly and support them in their jobs. Any by doing so, you’ll also increase productivity—and, ultimately, profit.
Those are some big claims.
Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll examine specifically how white lab coats bring a sense of team belonging to employees as well as the benefits that come with it. We’ll also talk about why designer lab coats are a “must” today for staffing reasons as well as practicality.
The scope of this article is to enable facilities and employers to understand the importance of team belonging in a work setting and consider providing lab coats to their employees, and to discuss the measurable effects that a unified and attractive appearance can bring to your organization.
Modern lab coats and brand awareness
Yes, the times have changed enough that the needs for lab coats today have changed with them. From more women entering science (so long, unisex-only sizing) to smart fabrics and more pockets needed that can now fit phones and tablets, todays labcoat-wearing professionals require exceptionally designed lab coats.
And it’s not the first time scientific or medical attire has changed. Would you believe if we told you that doctors used to wear black suits about a century ago? Doctors adopted the white lab coat from scientists (who had also recently acquired it) around the start of the 19th century because they overall needed a “rebranding” of what medicine meant at the time. Before then, doctors were rarely someone anyone was happy to see. They were associated, instead, with pain and even death. The rapidly-growing technology of the time turned “crisis management” medicine into more contemporary treatments and cures, and the white lab coat was a natural thing to adopt.
Today, we’re witnessing the age where medical, pharmaceutical and laboratory sciences are so technologically advanced (at the same time as the boom in devices and the online customer reviews) that the lab coat cannot be a simple white robe anymore. A modern lab coat should be functional (lots of pockets specifically designed to hold tech equipment), provide protection, and also be beautifully designed. In fact, professionally-dressed employees also means well-dressed employees—both in terms of having a properly fitted lab coat and in terms of protection.
Dressing for success and the importance of the first impressions always matter—perhaps today more than ever. Studies have shown that workplaces where staff are perceived to “dress nicely” affect the way people perceive that business. A Yale study in 2014 showed that well-dressed employees in sales and service environments also earn, on average, greater profit—including up to 2.5 times more than perceived “poorly dressed employees” and about 25% more than “neutrally dressed” employees.
Work attire does matter in any environment, however, and can have an impact on your profitability and the way colleagues and patients perceive the staff members in white.
As such, it’s equally important to understand that you can (and should) shape your organization’s dress code in a practical and professional way to promote the well-being and success of your entire team. Consider that your choice in dress code might say more about your organization that you realize, and even have a greater impact on your employees than you can imagine.
Modern lab coats and “team belonging”
No matter the niche, team belonging is an essential component in business success. Culture Amp defines team belonging in a workplace as where employees feel:
- And included
According to a paper by Dr. Ali Fenwick of Nyenrode Business Universiteit in the Netherlands, identification with team, leader, brand and organization is paramount to work commitment and work performance.
There are multiple ways an employer can cultivate team belonging. One of the easiest is by providing work attire. By providing the same quality of work attire for all employees, you give emphasis to the idea of team belonging and quickly promote team spirit. Your employees are demonstrably seen as “equally taken care of.”
With one decision you can leave staff members with an increased sense of belonging, unity and security. And it follows how these feelings can later increase work performance and commitment and, as a result, the overall productivity, image and profit of an organization.
When it comes to health, pharm and lab facilities, providing high-quality, designer lab coats that are practical for the 21st-centurty professional and tailored to the wearer will also have a gratifying “immediate effect” that you’ll be able to observe the very day of their delivery. Let’s take a look.
Employees will feel attractive in their lab coats
Everyone wants to look nice. Whatever their standards or definition, feeling attractive boosts confidence, and confidence is a crucial factor in self-development.
If you provide your employees with designer lab coats, you’ll be accommodating different body types and fits at the same time that you boost that sense of staff “belonging.” You’ll also promote a sense of fair treatment, and feelings like exclusion can quickly be stamped out.
Why employees will feel motivated with designer labcoats
The reason is simple: Wearing high-quality attire provided to staff in recognition of their role on your team can leave employees feeling valued. And this, in turn, can boost staff confidence and bring a sense of pride along with it—they’ll put on their “employee appreciation” reminder every single day. And appreciated employees deliver big.
You’ll improve performance in practical terms with the best lab coats
There’s no doubt that if you provide the right lab coats for your employees, it will make life easier for them.
To begin with, you save them money.
You’re also taking at least a little pressure off them.
And even more strikingly, you ensure they have the best tool to do the job. Tablet pockets? Check! LABTEX fabric? Check! Where to buy a white lab coat? What size lab coat should I get? Check, check!
Your employees will feel protected
Especially in lab settings (but also in health and pharmaceutical facilities), protection is vital. Lab employees frequently interact with hazardous substances. And healthcare employees are in high danger of contaminated germs. Providing a lab coat of the best quality—one that will leave no surface exposed and can be easily removed in case of extreme situations like fire—will provide the standard of protection you expect.
And on top of that, your employees will feel like valuable members of your team because you clearly care about their health and protection.
The big question…What features should the lab coat you provide your staff have?
When it comes to selecting the appropriate lab coats for your employees, it ultimately comes down to these three important factors:
- And pockets
Simply put, the size of a lab coat should be appropriately determined for each employee. The most considerate and simple way to go about this would be to purchase one coat of each size to allow staff to try on before ordering.
And bear in mind that sizing will be different between unisex coast (often only comfortable for men) and coats designed for women. We’re not just talking about vanity here, either (keep reading about this point below). We’re talking about what looks and feels good for an employee, but we’re also talking about what’s safe in a lab or medical environment.
Sleeve length should not expose any major skin between the end of the sleeve and the top of the glove. Equally important, their length shouldn’t reach past the wrist when the employee’s hands are hanging.
Pockets are the 21st-century professional’s number-one need. A modern lab coat should have enough pockets in clever places that allow convenient carry and use of tools. A lab coat with the appropriate pockets will add simplicity to an employee’s work routine and allow him or her to easily navigate their workplace carrying important tools like stethoscopes, phones and tables and other accessories.
Special considerations for women
The lab coat of today’s time can’t be a simple robe with buttons. And we’ve already stressed enough the fact that, when an employee feels confidence and satisfaction about their appearance, productivity increases. A well-designed unisex lab coat will look great on men, but what about women? If we’re honest, a unisex lab coat can often be impractical and even dangerous for women in medicine and science—both in terms of functionality and fit.
An appropriate lab coat for women should have a size that will feel right and fit with what a woman wears under her lab coat. Specifically-designed lab coats for women are generally preferred by female staff. Although unisex lab coats can work for some women, if you want to achieve that sense of “team belonging” to your organization, a design which has unisex and women’s options will avoid female staff feeling unnecessarily singled out.
This article examined the benefits of organizationally-elected lab attire. We spoke to confidence and security. These feelings go hand-in-hand with work productivity and, ultimately, the success of your organization. We’ve seen the importance of team belonging and its effect across your practice, hospital or lab.
The decision is yours to take. You can be “OK” with your employees wearing whatever, or with the dress code “status quo,” or you can provide your staff with exceptional lab coats and reap all the related benefits.