Seems that everywhere you turn, people have more ink than ever before. Are tattoos acceptable in the workplace? All depends on where you work.
The face of the young American worker is increasingly changing with ink and piercings. Forty percent of people ages 18-40 have tattoos, with Generation Y leading the pack. It's not just for guys anymore. More and more women are getting ink, and as these young women rise through the ranks, there will be a shift in the way body art is perceived.
What does all this mean? An update of the dress code policy in the handbook may be order. Some employers loosen up to attract younger talent, while some may add new updates to keep art and piercings covered. It would be a smart idea to clearly define expectations so there is no misinterpretation of the policy down the line.
A little common sense also helps. Tattoos can be beautiful works of art. That doesn't mean everyone wants to see them. If you work in a conservative environment, cover up. If you work in an environment that is conducive to body art, go for it. Will there ever come a time when we don't bat an eye at employee body art? Who knows. We'll have to wait and see when Gen Y become managers themselves.
No matter where you are, it's simply a matter of catering to your clientele.