When you start working from home for the first time, you might be tempted to start working in pajamas or similarly comfortable attire. After all, it probably makes you feel more relaxed and at home – and most people you work with will never have the opportunity to notice.
But for most people, there are benefits to continuing to dress up.
Why is this the case?
Dressing Up at Home
It may feel silly to put on a tailored suit and leather loafers when you’re going to be sitting in your home office alone all day, but there are several benefits to this practice. For best results, make it a point to dress up in business attire – or at least, something presentable – on a daily basis.
These are just some of the benefits:
- It adds to your morning ritual. For starters, dressing up can quickly become part of your morning ritual. And as any competent professional can attest, having a morning ritual is important for your health and well-being. Waking up at the same time every day and going through the same habits in the same order can help you reinforce healthy sleeping patterns, complete your morning tasks more quickly, and give you a mood and confidence boost at the start of the day. Plus, for many people, it’s fun to put together a new outfit in the morning.
- You’ll keep your fashion sense sharp. If you work entirely from home and rarely go out, it’s easy for your fashion sense to slip into a rut or disappear entirely. If you make it a point to dress well at the start of every morning, you’ll keep your fashion sense sharp. You’ll be forced to consider your clothes and accessories carefully – and you’ll be ready if you need to dress up for a truly special occasion.
- You’ll feel more confident. When people wear dress clothes, they generally feel more confident, even if they don’t particularly like dressing up. Something about putting on a suit or similarly professional attire makes you feel qualified and competent, feeding your self-esteem in the process. With greater confidence, you’ll be able to do your work more effectively, and you may put yourself in a position to negotiate more effectively as well.
- You’ll be encouraged to be more productive. Research shows that dressing up can increase your productivity, though it’s hard to say what the true root cause of this effect is. It might be that putting on dress clothes puts your mind in “work mode,” forcing you to pay closer attention and work harder. It might be that the confidence boost enables you to do your best work. It might even be a result of wanting to end the workday as quickly as possible so you can change into more comfortable clothes. Whatever it is, dressing up can make you more productive when working from home.
- It makes you feel fresher. Sweatpants, pajama bottoms, and other super-casual clothes aren’t necessarily “dirty,” but wearing more professional clothes can make you feel fresher and more alert.
- You’ll feel more “normal.” Some people appreciate the sense of normalcy they get when they dress up for a remote job. Despite the fact that it has become more popular in recent years, working from home is still relatively odd – and it’s an environment we haven’t had much time to perfect. Dressing in professional clothes can give you a sense of steadiness and normalcy that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
- It will improve your overall self-image. If you consistently dress up every day, you’ll eventually improve your image of yourself. You’ll come to see yourself as a truly experienced and knowledgeable professional, helping you eliminate impostor syndrome and feel more entitled to the perks you get in the future.
- It helps you separate work and home life. It’s often difficult to separate personal and professional life when you’re working from home. This problem is made even more complicated if you wear the same clothes and stay in the same rooms throughout your working life and your personal life. Changing into dress clothes at the start of the day and changing out of them at the end of the day gives you a stark partition between these two sides of your life, allowing you to find better balance.
- If there’s a surprise visit or video call, you’ll be ready. Even if you don’t have any meetings scheduled for the day, there’s always the possibility that you could be in store for a surprise visit or video call. If this happens, and you’re already wearing dress clothes, you’ll be ready for it.
Maintaining the Practice
As we’ve established, it’s a great idea to continue dressing up in your best clothes even as you work from home. But don’t be too hard on yourself if you take occasional breaks. There’s nothing wrong with still having a casual Friday in your home office, and there are certainly no repercussions to dressing in pajamas if you’re feeling particularly sick or unwell. The point is to make an effort to bring your best self to work, even when you’re away from the office.