As the popularity of working from home has grown quite a bit in the last year, you may have been one of the lucky ones that has nailed down a routine for a productive day at the home office. However, for some, the struggle continues on how to get more done at home without feeling too sluggish or cozy as a result of being at home all day long. Whether you’re on camera during Zoom meetings or not, here are some reasons why getting dressed to impress at home is very important and beneficial to you.
As humans, we are creatures of habit. This means that we tend to develop habits and behaviors that can stick with us for as long as the rest of our lives. Getting in the habit of taking a shower, putting on one of your work from home outfits, a pair of slacks or jeans, and comfortable flats to sit at your desk (and to get up occasionally for a cup of coffee) makes you feel more professional. When you feel more professional, you’ll feel more productive and efficient.
Staying in your college shirt and sweatpants is sending a signal to your body that it’s lounge time instead of work time. Think about it. For as long as you have been working, your body knows what work clothes feel like. This is because as soon as you got home from work, your daily routine was to change into those pairs of sweats. That meant work mode was officially turned off and relax mode came on. The same goes for the mornings. Going to work in your lounge clothes would feel completely strange and foreign because your body got used to getting dressed and ready for work.
When you look good, you feel good. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. Your feel-good hormones send messages to your brain, which make you feel happy. Clothes can make you feel your best, and, on the flip side, make you feel your worst. When you feel your best, your brain receives “feel good” vibes, which allows you to pick up your productivity level. One of the best parts about working from home is that it allows you to pick clothes that make you feel good and, at the same time, are just as comfortable. For example, men’s polo shirts are comfortable when it comes to the fit and the material. You can easily dress these shirts with a pair of men’s jeans so you can pull off the casual-office look at home.
If you haven’t noticed the difference between what you wear and how you work, you will as soon as you start working from home. Dressing up for work puts you in a better headspace to focus on your work projects. With more meetings happening over video, it’s best to stay presentable at all times. This doesn’t mean wearing a nice top with slouchy bottoms. If you’re going to get ready, do it all the way. Even though you aren’t being seen by anyone, you can still see yourself. Your brain notes what it sees so when you see yourself in work clothes, it’s a symbol to you, as well as a signal to your brain telling you that’s who you are and what you are supposed to be doing. It’s easier to block out other distractions at home when you’re dressed for work.
For example, that pile of laundry that needs to be done or those dishes that need to be loaded in the dishwasher are much harder to approach when you’re dressed in your best. It makes it easier to tend to chores when you’re in your comfy sweats because your focus is more relaxed. If you’re working at home with kids, your amount of focus is spread thin because of all of the things you need to tend to. A crying baby, fighting siblings, making breakfast and lunches, etc. As much as you’re tempted to stay in your loungewear, avoid it as much as you can so you can look and feel like the hardworking employee that you are while still tending to your kids.
For women, it may help to do your makeup every morning along with your hair. This doesn’t have to take very long. Simple at-home makeup may give you a little boost in the morning if that’s something you enjoy wearing. When it comes to hair, swap the messy at-home bun for a slick bun or ponytail. If you’re used to wearing your hair down, try styling it the way you normally would for work.
For men, it may feel better to shave in the mornings (if you usually do) to avoid that five o’clock shadow. Combing and styling your hair may also get you back into that normal morning routine and give you a little boost to feeling like your normal work-self again.
Working from home is a real challenge so try different things that will help you find your groove and perform at your best.