With more people than ever in the UK currently working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown, it got us thinking. Does what you wear have any impact on how well you continue to carry out your job? Does getting dressed, brushing your hair and doing your makeup as usual really make you more professional and more productive?
There are a huge number of articles popping up in blogs and in the national press, packed full of rules for working from home, and whilst some of them are super helpful (for example the ones that recommend sticking to a routine and your usual working hours), there’s one that seems to pop up time and time again that we’re not so sure about, and that’s the rule that says you must get dressed.
Even if you are regularly video conferencing for work via the likes of Zoom, Face Time or Google Hangouts, your colleagues and clients are likely only ever to see your head and a bit of your torso and if you visit any social media platform you’ll see countless people posting photos of their, shall we say ‘relaxed’ attitude to clothing during lockdown.
So why is it that we’re being told that getting dressed ‘appropriately’ to work from home is so important?
Sure if you’re not used to working from home or managing your workload without close monitoring, the whole getting dressed thing might help provide you with a familiar sense of routine, but these days it’s commonplace for many of us to work from home at least occasionally and I’m not convinced that wearing pyjama bottoms and a hoodie and not brushing your hair for 3 days straight suddenly means that your productivity will drop or that you’ll be less capable of doing your job.
Now, I’m no slob and of course I like to look my best when I’m at work and even if I’m just popping to the supermarket (which incidentally, you really shouldn’t be doing right now unless absolutely necessary!) I still like to look presentable, but when working from home the pressure is off. I’m finding I’m just throwing on whatever is clean and comfy with total disregard for how those garments look together, and you know what? It’s brilliant and my standard of work certainly hasn’t suffered as a result!
Like many of you reading this, working from home for an extended period of time has thrown up a whole set of new challenges (mainly through a marked decrease in human interaction) but it’s also providing some interesting opportunities for self-expression.
Self-expression is significant now more than ever as it helps us to feel a small sense of liberation; important during a time when our civil liberties have been so deeply curtailed.
Wear whatever makes you happy and comfortable!
We’ve all smiled adoringly when we’ve passed toddlers in the street or in a shop who were quite clearly allowed to dress themselves that day. You can spot them with ease as they’ll be the ones wearing the most ridiculous array of clothing possible, like willies in the middle of summer, a fairy princess dress topped off with a fireman’s helmet.
Why do toddlers have a knack for choosing ridiculous outfits? Because they choose clothes on a whim, based on what makes them feel good in that moment! They don’t put together outfit choices that make them look slimmer, taller, cooler or more professional; no, they choose clothes based on what brings them joy pure and simple.
So perhaps, during this extended period of lockdown, instead of continuing to do what the productivity gurus tell us to do, we should instead be taking a leaf out of toddlers books and dressing in whatever the hell we feel like dressing in because we jolly well can!
Along with the joy of ditching the daily commute and rediscovering a better work life balance, this collective more relaxed attitude to what we wear at home, regardless of the time of day or day of the week, means we’re experiencing a different kind of freedom at a time when we have very little real social freedom.
We’ve got enough things to worry about right now and whilst we’re working from home, looking sharp isn’t something that needs to be anywhere close to the top of our list of priorities. Of course if looking pristine makes you feel better, go for it, but for those of you secretly sat in their Pyjama bottoms whilst Skyping into meetings – I salute you!
So, by all means, continue wearing weird and wonderful outfits you’d never dream of wearing to the office or even outside of the home. In fact, wear whatever’s comfortable and whatever makes you feel good because at a time like this, it’s those simple comforts that give you a lift that are more important than ever.