To all you freelancers out there in your pajamas: I feel you.
While other professionals run around in suits and silk blouses from 8 to 5, we rock a sunup to sundown workday clad in sweats and an oversized T-shirt. Though dressing up to work from home may seem pointless, it’s not. What you wear and the attitude you have about it affects both the quality of your work and the time it takes to get it done.
As one full-time freelancer to another, here are three reasons why you should dress to impress, even if you work from home.
1. It Affects Your Self Image
I’m going to be real with you right now. People judge you on how you present yourself. That includes what you wear, how you wear it, your hygiene, everything. And, don’t get all huffy about it either — you do it, too. So if people judge you and you judge people, do you also judge yourself?
The answer is yes.
When you spend day after day in frumpy sweats, you start to feel frumpy. Am I right? This feeling can then translate into other areas of your life, both personal and professional.
Still not convinced yet that you should dress up when you work from home? Here’s a secret. You can dress comfortably without looking like you’re just coming back from the gym, though that’s better than looking like you just rolled out of bed.
Here’s what you should do:
- Choose clothes that can quickly be dressed up with a blazer, accessories, or heels.
- Buy a few cotton jersey dresses.
- Find a maxi skirt or two that works with a T-shirt during the day and a nice sweater at night.
- Invest in a high-quality handbag that’s versatile enough to hold your laptop and client portfolio (like a leather satchel). Doing this will not only help your self-image, but it’ll make sure you’re ready to get up and go if the office (or client) calls.
2. It Saves You From Scrambling
Would you be ready if a client or supervisor called an impromptu in-person work meeting? By making yourself presentable each morning, you don’t have to scramble to look presentable for a Skype or Zoom conference call.
And you won’t be embarrassed to encounter the mailman at the front door. Business Insider offers some tips to help you get ready more quickly.
3. It Boosts Your Productivity
Workplace dress codes are often put in place to help influence outsiders’ perception of a company and its employees. For example, suits often exude power and professionalism, while khakis and a bright shirt can communicate a fun and informal mindset.
But, according to a 2012 study from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, clothing may also have an impact on personal performance. If people associate certain qualities with certain items of clothing, it can influence how they act in those clothes.
- If you see white lab coats as something smart people wear, you may be more attentive when wearing one
- You may act more ethically in a priest or judge’s robe
- You may feel and act more courageous in a firefighter’s uniform
Bottom line: What you wear while working from home can either help or hurt your productivity. If you associate relaxation with pajamas, you may slack off while working in them. If you dress the part, you may find yourself more easily filling it.
Do you dress up when working from your home office? How does dressing up affect how productive you are?
This post was originally published on October 16, 2014 and updated on March 16, 2020.