On the naughty step conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: office wear

When teachers' day job includes telling students to take off their caps, pull down their hoodies, do up their ties and remove their headphones, they can't be blamed for not wanting to attract attention to their own appearances.

Were teachers to start patrolling the corridors in a pair of high-tops and unnecessarily skinny trousers, withering comments from their young charges would surely follow. And probably rightly. But, dear teachers, bear the following in mind when putting on your regulation office wear: it may be hampering your chances of promotion and making your colleagues respect you less.

According to research from academics at Harvard Business School, wearing nonconformist clothes in a professional setting means you are perceived as having a higher status and being more competent than your conventionally attired colleagues. This is even truer if your peers know you are aware that the dress code calls for shirts, ties and sensible skirts but are wilfully choosing to ignore it.

The lesson is to be independent. Show off your creative spirit. Let your inner maverick out. Then just wait for the compliments from fellow staff members, the respect of the headteacher - and, um, the derision of your students.

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