Working from home has been a regular way of work for many people for the past few months, so we’re not even sure we can call it the “new” normal. Nevertheless, could you benefit from re-analyzing what you choose to wear each day?
Did you know that changing your attire has an impact on your performance and mental attitude – and not just with work? For example, studies show that people have more effective workouts while wearing athletic clothes. Similarly with work, wearing the right clothes helps put (and keep) you in the right frame of mind. Changing clothes, especially changing out of the ones you slept in, helps you mentally shift into a work mindset, and it may help you focus on your job rather than on the distractions surrounding you at home! Therefore, take the time to set aside and designate certain clothes as your “professional clothing.” Then change into this apparel when you begin your workday and change out of it when you are done.
Part of this mental shift into work should also include grooming, such as doing your hair, managing facial hair, and putting on make-up.
Just because you have “professional clothing” set aside doesn’t mean you have to feel uncomfortable. There is no reason that classy, professional clothes need to be uncomfortable – which also holds true when working anywhere, not just at home! Why buy clothing you cannot wait to stand to wear? Tasteful clothes can, and should, still be comfortable and if your professional clothes are comfortable, you will be more likely to wear them instead of keeping your pajamas on all day.
What you wear to work from home will need to be adapted if you are on camera, such as for a meeting with your boss or with clients. Moreover, what is acceptable to wear on camera will vary from company to company.
If you have worked somewhere long enough, you likely know what's acceptable and should, therefore, dress accordingly. If you are unsure or a new employee, ask! It is far better to feel a little silly asking the question than to embarrass yourself by not dressing appropriately.
Be mindful of how much of you and your attire appears on other people’s screens. Likely only your shirt will be visible, but make sure to test this ahead of time and then dress according to how much of you will be observable.
We rarely figure anything out on the first try, so use this time to experiment as well. See what apparel helps you focus, experiment with comfortable items, and pay attention to what your co-workers are wearing. Finally, have the discipline to dress well to do the best possible job you can while working from home.