Uniform tips from Norway’s curling team
When the Norwegian curling team showed up this year, at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, they were dressed to impress. Their outrageous uniforms, designed in Norway’s colors, won the attention of spectators weeks before the games had even begun. “When we travel around the world for curling, it doesn’t always matter if we do well or not, people still think that we win stuff because we are always in the media,” said curler Christoffer Svae in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
Of course, fashion isn’t their only talent but it has helped their performance. “We decided that when we wear them, we have to really try and win and go the whole way,” said curler Vad Petersson in an interview with The New York Times. The team admits that the uniforms are a bit ridiculous but it gives them a sense of belonging and pride that helps ease pressure during tough matches.
Employers could take note. An article from the Harvard Business Review says self-expression is the third core employee need. Promoting self-expression could help boost the employee’s production and the company’s image. As Norway has proven, it only takes a little creativity to set the team apart.
Some restaurants, such as T.G.I. Friday’s, have known the importance of self-expression for some time. Since 1965, Friday’s has encouraged self-expression by allowing employees to wear “flair” and customize their uniforms. This practice, made infamous by Jennifer Aniston’s character in Office Space, helps to create the fun and relaxing atmosphere that diners enjoy.
For a more contemporary example, check out Lange & Lange’s conceptual uniform designs for McDonald’s. The designer duo promises to elevate employee’s mood and confidence by simply reworking the uniform. The final result is authentic to the brand and could easily be worn in the store or on the street.
Uniforms were made to stand out. Whether you’re competing with Olympians or feeding them, they’re one of the quickest ways to identify the team. Most importantly, the uniform is the group’s first impression to the public. Without ever saying a word, a uniform will represent the character and values of the entire group. Make sure your uniform is sending the right message. If your uniform isn’t working as hard as you do, take some advice from Norway and spice things up.