14 February 2008

Are you Having a Good Office Hair Day?

As a former hairdresser, I notice hair. I can't help it.

One evening after working overtime, I was preparing to go home and noticed a young man getting off the elevator. I wasn't sure if he belonged there, but thought perhaps he was a co-worker's son so didn't question him.

The next morning we got an e-mail from the office manager advising us that our office had laptops stolen the night before. She wondered if anyone had seen anything unusual. I let her know what I had seen and she asked me to speak with security. When they asked me to describe him the only thing I could remember was he needed a haircut.

So you see hair is very noticeable to me and as an assistant I particularly notice hairstyles in the office. I wrote this article with a few of my observations about hair and what we might be saying to our employer by our choice in style.

I hope you enjoy it as you get ready to enjoy your weekend and possibly go for your next hair appointment.


A trip to the hairdresser and your hair is perfect. It has bounce and shine and feels wonderful. But will you repeat it on Monday morning when you are getting ready to go into the office? Does your hairstyle matter in the workplace and, if so, what is it saying about you to your employer?

80’s Stare is Yesterday’s Hair

It may have looked good in the 80s, but, newsflash, big hair is out. If you are still sporting it, “I don’t like change” could be the message that is getting across loud and clear.

Your hairdresser is a good resource to ask what would look best on you in terms of colour and style. Inform your hairdresser that you are an office professional and together you can take a few moments to look at some hair books and magazines for up-to-date styles that would look best on you. Be realistic and open to suggestions if you are the type who digs your feet in and says, “Don’t do anything different”.

Punk Rockers

The 70’s spiky hairdo with lots of product may say, “I don’t want anyone telling me what to do”. In an office environment that promotes a team attitude you could be giving the impression of not wanting to fit in.

Some suggestions are popular styles with lots of movement such as mid-length bobs, shags and straight cuts with shape and interesting lines. These are very adaptable hairstyles and can have style and be practical for the office. Add some rollers for a bouncy look or straighten it for a sleek, neat style. Flattering colour and highlights can add a very professional and stylish look to your office image, while adding fun to your hair.

Your hairdresser will take into consideration your hair type, skin tone, facial shape and lifestyle when suggesting styles. Many times customers come in to a hair salon with very fine straight hair, but show their hairdresser a picture of a model with thick voluminous hair with lots of body and announce, “I want my hair to look like that”. Well, you might want it, but it is not going to happen. When you are looking through the books let your hairdresser help direct you to styles that will actually work with your hair type.

The Long and Short of it

A long hairstyle, if it is without style, can appear plain and reminiscent of the 60s. It might be giving the impression of someone who lacks new and creative ideas. Long hair can be made more stylish by putting in some colour and long layers, while adding bounce and movement to your hair.

Straightening your long layers will give your hair a very flattering current look that would look good in the office or at a conference while taking registration and greeting clients.

Another simple and practical long hairstyle that is suitable for the office is the ponytail. Wearing a ponytail lower on your neck with a nice clip can look very stylish. If you wear your ponytail tight and high it tends to look too sporty for a business look.

Short severe haircuts may show to the employer someone who is all business with no personality. Will you be a good addition to the company is what they might be thinking?

Short hair doesn’t have to be boring. Ask your hairdresser to add flattering lines and textures to the cut to bring it up-to-date. Adding highlights on short hair can be fun and creative, while still maintaining a professional look.

Men’s Hair

The role of the administrative assistant is mainly dominated by women, but there are men among us. The male administrative assistant has a look he can wear to look professional and well groomed too.

A short man’s haircut should be kept trimmed with regular monthly trips to the barber. Good styling products can add style and create an up-to-date, but still professional look. Your hairdresser will be able to help you make the best selection for your hair type and the style you want to achieve.

A male assistant who prefers longer hair can appear professional in a conservative men’s ponytail while still maintaining his individuality.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What is my look saying to a potential employer or to my current employer?”. Taking the time to update your style can go a long way in presenting yourself as a professional in your office.

Afer writing this I think I just might make a hair appointment this weekend.

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