Workers Go Under the Needle as Workplaces Embrace Tattooing

Tattoo frenzy has hit the mainstream, but what does that mean for the cobra tattoo peaking out of your suit jacket? Although more widely accepted than ever, tattoos still remain a taboo in many workplaces as employees struggle to express their individuality while adhering to workplace anti-ink policies.

Forty percent of people aged 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo, according 2006 Pew Research Center survey in the United States. That means that over 100 million tattoo-bearing working-age ladies and gents are sporting their tattoos at the workplace.

Your boss’s hesitation about exposing the skull and cross-bones on your arm is somewhat explainable, considering the negative connotations linked to tattooing. Staining your skin with images up for interpretation, or choosing a tattoo location that’s visible to the watchful eye of coworkers may cause people to misconstrue your tattoo.

With an ever increasing number of workers going under the needle, there are a number of considerations to make before hopping on the skin-branding bandwagon. Many workplaces have a tattoo policy requiring inked-employees to cover up. Tattoo-enthusiasts consider this type of policy discriminatory, while others argue that when company image is on the line, this type of policy works to protect the good name of your workplace. (Although the argument crumbles when the employee doesn’t work with the public…)

Workplace tattoo domination, however, is becoming more and more common with an influx of young, tattooed people in the job market. Attracting the best young talent means embracing body art in the workplace and looking the other way when noting a tattoo debut – even if it’s the company logo.

Surprisingly, company tattoos may be the marketing tool of choice for out-there-organizations. The Human Billboard Concept has been used by companies like Harley Davidson and Ikea to promote mouth to mouth (or skin to skin, in this case) advertising, while strengthening the buying culture that surrounds the organization.

Considering a new tattoo? FYI: Check with your employer before spear-heading the company’s new guerilla marketing tattoo ad campaign. Flesh branding may be a hip trend – but a tattoo is forever.

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