Is facial hair appropriate for the workplace?

Is facial hair appropriate for the workplace?

Is facial hair appropriate for the workplace?

Ahh, beards. Beautiful, bouncy, bodacious beards. Seems every male hipster over the age of 14 is sporting one – and the trend appears to be seeping into the corporate realm as well, with the likes of Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak flaunting facial fuzz. But is it ok for advisors to go unshaved at work outside of Movember?

While some professionals, like fire-fighters and chefs, aren’t encouraged to – or are outright banned from – growing facial hair, there’s no obvious health and safety risk for advisors wanting to sprout a ‘stache’.

Some employers continue to consider a bearded look unprofessional, and it's not unheard of for company policy to forbid beards (though this has caused some controversy when it comes into conflict with an employee's religious beliefs). Others say it depends upon the culture of an organisation – and that the tone is usually set by the highest-ranked man in the company.

As a rule of thumb for beards at work, J. Scott Omelianuk, co-author of Things a Man Should Know says:

  • Look around – At the most conservative companies, it isn’t a question of finding an appropriate look: Any beard at all is probably a lousy idea.
  • Get a second opinion – Don’t make the decision alone.
  • Keep It Simple – When the decision has been made to keep the hair, Omelianuk says it should be well-kempt and trimmed.
  • Cut! Omelianuk thinks it’s best for individuals to go without until they’re professionally established – unless the direction comes from the top.

What is your view on facial hair in the office?