Oh, the joys of working from home! Whether you just started to telecommute or recently opened your own solopreneur endeavor and will be working from a home office, working remotely has many perks. When I coach a client exploring a work from home situation, I ask questions to learn more about what is motivating the transition. The answers typically include these themes — no commute, more flexibility, fewer interruptions — and the ability to work in my pajamas. But even when you work from home clothes still matter!
I personally understand this temptation to throw on sweats and start the workday. I did just that 20 years ago, after turning in my corporate badge and (to date myself) shredding my pantyhose. But I can personally attest, along hundreds of my telecommuting clients, that donning casual workplace attire as your work from home clothes sets you up for success. Here are 6 reasons to spend just a few minutes to get ready and look professional even when working from home.
The biggest challenge home workers face is the never-ending attempt to maintain productivity. So, while our bodies appreciate the comfiness of yoga pants or PJs, whether consciously or unconsciously, our minds do react to this comfort by shutting down the practical parts of our brains. If you get dressed every morning it will have a surprising subconscious effect on your productivity. By changing into your work clothes, you are telling yourself that it’s not time for relaxing anymore, it’s time to work.
When you work from home, other people in your household or circle may need to be taught new boundaries. There is a temptation for those nearest and dearest to us to think that because we work from home, we have tons of time to give. An easy solution to set healthy boundaries is to look like you are working. By wearing work clothes you are sending a signal and providing a visual cue that you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed.
Studies have shown that the hardest part of starting a worthwhile project is getting in the flow and staying there. So, if you are dressing super casual with dreams of taking breaks throughout the day to tackle the laundry, you may want to re-think that plan. The key to staying focused is to simply not stop focusing. The idea of stopping and starting during the day to get more done around the house may inhibit your business rather than actually improve your work/life balance. Wearing work clothes has helped my clients stay in ‘work mode’ and they tell me they feel more focused!
Collaboration and Camera Ready
So, you thought you’d just roll out of bed every day and start working in undisturbed bliss. Free of meetings with no need to even brush your hair. Since most of us collaborate with others, the idea of hiding out in your pajamas all day may not be a good idea. Now more than ever clients, companies, business partners, etc. are requesting and expecting professionals to hop on a camera-based communication platform as a way to collaborate virtually. Whether you are 8 floors, 8 miles or 8 feet away from colleagues, vendors and clients, you’re probably going to be communicating with them using a technology that puts you on camera. Knowing that you look presentable at any time will allow you the necessary agility to respond to situations where it’s time for lights, camera and action!
One of the most common issues I hear after a client has been working from home for a while is that there is no line between work and home. They are working all the time. One reason this occurs is that without dressing up for work, you no longer have those moments to condition your brain into understanding when work ends, and home life begins. I recently advised a client to change into casual clothes at 5pm to give her day a distinct shift. She reported that when she changed out of her professional attire, she didn’t feel the urge to respond to after-hours emails and started to take the weekends off.
The growing number of remote workers is remaking the way we work and live. If you elect to be one of those remote workers, do it well. Spend just a little time to create a capsule wardrobe of work from home clothes. Use colors that suit you so that you can pull on any top and slacks and quickly get ready for work. This will make a positive impact on how you feel, perform and are perceived. Sure, you may not get to that laundry pile, but you will have developed a habit that allows you to perform at your highest level and feel great about the work you are doing — from home!