Tattoos in the Workplace: Art or Talking Point?

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In the modern corporate world, where conformity and “fitting in” reigns supreme and individuality can be a rare commodity, the subject of tattoos in the workplace can be a hot subject. Is it a form of artistry, a rebellious statement to “stick it to the man”, or simply a talking point around the water cooler? 

To truly grasp the nuance of this question, one must embark on a journey through the inked tapestry. 

Picture the scene, you stroll through the gleaming foyer of a cold corporate tower. You sidle past the cold, unfeeling eyes of the receptionist into the lift. After the ping, you step out into the fluorescent cubicle farm. You’re met with a sea of nondescript button-down shirts and power-suits. The closest thing to uniqueness you see is Andrew from accounting donning a penguin scarf that, at face value may appear to be standing out from the crowd, but it is done in such a way that it appears almost expected and manufactured. 

You find yourself adrift, lost in the sea of pinstripe and navy blue. But wait! Amidst the monotony, you see it — a brief splash of colour. You spy a glimpse of rebellion — you see the tattooed maverick in marketing. A new-hire who has yet to be beaten into shape by the machine. It’s as if a wild beast has managed to infiltrate the sterile jungle of the office space, through the glittering foyer, past reception, and up the sterile lift. It’s like a modern miracle. 

But is this an expression of how a person feels, a cry for attention, or just something to be considered normal as moods and opinions change? And most important of all, is it really appropriate for the workplace?

Are Tattoos Still Taboo in the Workplace?

While tattoos in the workplace are not considered anywhere near as taboo as they once were, and are widely viewed as normal across a variety of industries, there are some where this is still not the case. In some corporate realms, tattoos still invoke scorn and scepticism, raise eyebrows, and can even shut doors forever.

In the often complex realm of office perceptions, the stance on tattoos in the workplace will shift depending on the industry. Many see tattoos for what they are — harmless expressions of individuality. Though in some corners, they’re still branded as an affront, graffiti upon the shiny visage of professionalism. 

Examples of just a few professions where companies will often outright ban tattoos or demand they be covered up includes: 

  • Branches of the military 
  • Airlines (pilots and cabin crew) 
  • Medical practitioners 
  • Teachers 
  • Legal professionals 
  • Banking and finance workers 
  • Law enforcement 


While there are still holdouts, the rollercoaster of change and acceptance continues to roll on. Year on year, tattoos in the workplace continue to inch closer and closer to universal acceptance. The rebellion grows, and the chains of conformity get ever-looser. 

Yet, let’s not forget the reality of the situation — a tattoo is not present on the list of protected characteristics. Meaning that no matter how widely embraced and accepted tattoos are in the cultural zeitgeist, employers can still slam the door on a candidate’s face without consequence if they happen to have visible tattoos.  

It’s often hard to keep track of corporate norms. And in this world, tattoos are a double edged sword. On one side they’ll cut through the mundane, while on the other there’s a chance they slash opportunities. 

What Tattoos in The Workplace Can Represent

In the office, it can be easy to be drawn into the constant conflict between those conforming to norms and those rebelling against them. But in these spaces, tattoos can become more than just ink on skin. They are often bold declarations that represent identity, love, loss, or just how much you love your favourite anime. 

Tattoos in the workplace: what do these indelible marks mean in the context of working lunches and the theatres of the boardroom? Well, it can mean all manner of things, including: 

Stand Out From The Crowd

Neon amongst a sea of monochrome. In the grey landscape of the office, tattoos can act as a declaration of individuality. You are not a cog in any machine — you march to the beat of your own drum! 

Each tattoo is like a brushstroke onto the canvas of your personal identity, something that helps shape your being and allows you to differentiate yourself from everybody else. 

Express Yourself 

In a world where art and creativity can sometimes struggle to rise up from the weeds, tattoos can do their part. Each design is like a framed work of art, while the body is the gallery. 

The diversity of the industry, from stylish minimalist linework, to text done with a careful hand, to even representations of the most intricate of masterpieces, tattoos are a way of showcasing the wearer’s appreciation for aesthetics and is a way of taking art you love everywhere you go.


Tell Your Tales  

Looking at a person’s tattoos can be similar to browning the contents of a book. They are like inked representations of the opening and closing of chapters within a person’s life. Whether the ink is a memorial to somebody dear lost, a symbol of resilience, or a reminder of the good times, a tattoo can speak decibels without a word being spoken. 

These inked memoirs invite any and all who gaze upon them to try to decode the intricate tapestries of the tattoo-ee’s experiences. 

Empower Oneself 

Having a symbol on your skin for the whole world to see can be very empowering. It affords a person confidence to express themselves without feeling the need to apologise. 

For some, having tattoos is a visual representation of their self-acceptance and self-confidence.

Stand Out and Standing Together at Use.Space

In the battleground of what is and is not acceptable in a working environment, tattoos in the workplace emerge as a multifaceted topic that promises to split opinions. Many will consider it as nothing out of the ordinary, the debate much of a muchness. While the others find themselves appalled at the notion entirely. 

However, if the world is going to truly grow, then the future of work cannot be held up on tattoos. They are emblems of personal history, artistic expression, empowerment, and individuality, and nothing more. It is a celebration of the uniqueness of humanity. Behind every tattoo is a complex human being with an equally complex story to tell. 

While the future of the office calls for acceptance, how can we bridge the gap? Enter coworking spaces — sanctuaries to new schools of thought, individuality, and personality. 

In these oases of modern work, like-minded souls come together under one roof, each with their own tales, and converse, collaborate, and connect.  

At Use.Space, there is no judgement based on appearance, no hang ups of bygone prejudices, We believe we have created a workplace that stands out like a lighthouse, a beacon amongst the crashing waves of the corporate ocean. A place where people are able to stand out from the crowd, without ever truly being outliers. 

The community here hums with passion and excitement. Every note, no matter how different, harmonises to help create a beautiful, powerful composition. In this environment, people and businesses are allowed to flourish and are empowered to be themselves without ever needing to apologise. 

Just as tattoos in the workplace represent defiance, identity, individuality, and self-expression, Use.Space puts ourselves out there in a way that embodies this exact same spirit. 

The modern world is a difficult place to venture out into, it can be hard to know where you stand. So we hope you’ll consider coworking as a haven where you can be authentically yourself without ever fearing judgement. It’s a place where tattoos are celebrated as unique strokes in the artistic masterpiece of life. 

Our aim is to redefine what it means to work, to belong, to create. Stand out and stand together at Use.Space. Get in touch today.


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