When The Policy of Wearing a Suit Everyday Has to change

June 24, 2015
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Article originally appeared on WDBJ7

Roanoke, VA – One Roanoke business owner says the heat is taking a toll on his employees.

When you think about working in the heat you tend to think about landscapers, road crews and roofers, but it’s also challenging for employees at Oakey’s Funeral Services.

Oakey’s employees normally wear a suit and tie, but funeral director and CEO Sammy Oakey is bending the rules for his team.

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“We try to have sympathy,” he said. “It’s tough.”

Oakey is not talking about the people he serves every day, rather he’s talking about his employees who serve them.

“It’s part of what we do and we know that when we take the job,” he said.

Employees come into work every day knowing they could be standing in the heat and humidity for hours.

“We’re very strict about not being casual,” said Oakey.

But with temperatures reaching well into the 90’s in recent weeks, he is making some exceptions.

“It can be really tough,” he said. “We changed the rules about seven or eight years ago to where if it was 90 degrees or more they could take their jackets off.”

And those rules are changing once again.

Oakey now allows his employees to take off their jackets when it hits 80 degrees outside.

“We have to keep going no matter what it is and we try to be cognizant of what families are going through and what our employees are going through.”

Employees say the job is challenging in general. They’re meeting and greeting people on one of the worst days of their lives.

From the time family and friends arrive to the funeral home to the time they head to the cemetery to deliver flowers and provide cold water, it’s never an easy task, but it is rewarding.

“Where else can you go and help families at the worst time of their lives and you’re not helping them to be fine again, but you’re helping them rebound a bit and there’s a certain degree of thankfulness in that.”

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