How Office Lanyards Took Over Company Culture

If you’re sat on the train on the commute to work reading this blog, or if you’re in the office, have a look around you. All of your colleagues will be wearing some form of uniform, whether it’s smart business attire, whether it’s a name badge, or whether it’s a lanyard. There will be something that brings your business or your company culture together and means that you can be distinguished as being part of the crowd. Lanyards have become such a common workplace uniform, but have you ever stopped to wonder why this is and how it came about?


In January 1991, compulsory lanyards were brought into the BBC Broadcasting House, as a security measure. The idea behind this was for security reasons and exclusivity, any employee of the BBC would have to show their ID and lanyard to be granted entrance into the building. There were so many different members of staff coming and going from the BBC during the Gulf War, recording reels and reels of radio edits and information, that it came to a point where there needed to be order and semblance in the organisation.

Over the years, lanyards have developed into a symbol of status and company branding. Whether this is a journalist in a war zone, a doctor in a hospital or a charity worker, a lanyard allows you to clearly see that a person belongs to an organisation or to a company.


Branding is an integral part of any business. If you want somebody to know who you are and what you are about, then you need to have a company branding strategy in place. If you want to build brand awareness, then you should seek to make a good impression on your potential customers and clients. There are various different techniques that you can adopt in order to find the best combination for yourself and your business. Lanyards are symbolic of good business branding, as those who already know you will recognise your business from the branded lanyards your employees wear, but the can also be used as the spark that will ignite your brand awareness.

Where can I buy a sunflower lanyard?

The Sunflower Lanyard is an initiative to help bring some visibility to invisible disabilities. When you learn that one in five people in the UK has a disability, you might start to wonder where all of these people are. But when you learn that 80% of disabilities are invisible, it becomes easier to understand how they might go unnoticed.

We assume that disabilities will be easy to spot. A wheelchair, guide dog or cane are the typical clues that we might look for. But so many people go through life without these obvious visual clues. And it can make it much more difficult for them to get help when out in public.

Having to explain your disability and how it affects you to every person you meet is stressful and unnecessary. Instead, the Sunflower Lanyard is designed to become a simple way for people to discreetly let those around them know that they are disabled.

Where can I buy a sunflower lanyard?

You can buy sunflower lanyards online or you can buy them in participating shops. While some offer them for free for customers, others may ask for a donation to a charity. You don’t have to prove you have a disability to buy a lanyard.

The sunflower lanyard scheme is open to anyone. If you have a disability that makes everyday tasks more difficult, you could benefit from wearing this simple neck lanyard. The lanyards aren’t controlled by anyone, so you don’t have to apply for them to qualify.

How does the sunflower lanyard help?

You can wear your sunflower lanyard while you are out and about or travelling. Shop staff are trained to recognise when someone is wearing a lanyard and they will know this means you have a hidden disability. 

They might ask if you require any assistance, or give you a little more time to pack your items while you are checking out. In an airport, you might be offered assistance when you check-in or at the boarding gate. On the bus, other passengers that are aware of the scheme might offer you an accessible seat.

Who recognises the sunflower lanyard?

The sunflower lanyard is recognised in shops, cafes, supermarkets and airports up and down the country. As more shops sign up to the scheme, this could soon become universally recognised.

In addition to shop staff understanding what the sunflower lanyard means, we also need the general public to understand what this yellow and green lanyard means. 

If you are interested in using a sunflower lanyard, or you know someone who would benefit from one, it helps if you take the time to share this information with friends and family. By talking about it and spreading the word, you can help to make the sunflower lanyard more effective for wearers.

What if someone is misusing the scheme?

It’s important to remember that the lanyards don’t offer any guarantees. They don’t give you a fast track pass, and they don’t get you anything for free. There wouldn’t be much sense in misusing the scheme. It’s important not to point fingers or accuse anyone of misusing the scheme, as hidden disabilities can affect anyone.

The problem with the perception of hidden disabilities is that sufferers feel that they have to “prove” they are truly disabled. The idea behind the scheme is that anyone wearing the sunflower lanyard does not need to explain themselves. This is why we need to maintain the idea that anyone wearing the lanyard has a hidden disability, and no further explanation is required.