Does it really matter what you wear, when you work from home?

01 Jul 2020

Here’s a reason why it might just be worth trying an experiment.

This week, one of my clients said, “What’s the point in making an effort to look nice when the only other person who’ll see me is my husband?” And this is an excellent point. 

Why make an effort to ‘get ready’ when you work from home? There’s such a time saving from not having to do your make up or decide on an outfit, plus home clothes are usually more practical. The only time many of us see other people has been via a screen, and it’s a wonder what a dash of lipstick or a necklace can do. 

But are we missing a trick? Are there positives to be gained from ‘getting ready’, from pulling a favourite but impractical shirt out of the wardrobe instead of the usual tee? Is there any reason to make effort with our appearance, other than not having the Amazon delivery driver confusing us for ‘Thriller’ extras?  Well, there just might be. 

“Enclothed Cognition” describes how clothes can impact how we feel, how we think, how we perform, and yes, perhaps even how productive we are. This short video explains what enclothed cognition is and how it works. https://youtu.be/MtPPaCBJdw0

We’ve developed a subconscious association with our clothes in terms of how they make us feel and who they make us feel we are.  We learn to do this early on (remember the dressing up box of childhood and how instantly you became a ‘nurse’ or ‘policeman’ just from a few items of clothing?) It stands to reason then, that we can create ‘costumes’ to help us feel confident or more productive (superman suit, anyone?). 

The problem when working from home is we could end up wearing clothes we subconsciously associate with relaxing, or with weekends off, or even with going to bed. If we’re not separating our ‘home relaxing’ clothes from our ‘home working’ clothes, we could send the brain the wrong signals about what we want to achieve, and this could make us less productive.

If this has resonated with you, try an experiment – choose a day to wear clothes that you associate with being at home. Then choose another day and dress as if you were going out to meet a client, or give a presentation.  At the end of each day, review how you felt – were you more effective on one day or the other?  On which day did you feel more confident?  Were there discernible changes in how successful you would consider your day to have been? 

I’d love to know if it worked for you or not, so do email me with your results!  victoria@frankieandruby.co.uk  www.frankieandruby.co.uk/