Dressing Professionally Even While Working from Home

Featured image - The Importance of Being Professionally Dressed While Working from Home

Dressing Professionally Even While Working from Home

Matt Archer

January 5, 2021

Dressing Professionally quote

The Search for Stability

Dressing Professionally - the search for stabilityWith so much of the workforce doing most of their work from home these days, it can be tempting to start relaxing on certain aspects that used to be very important, such as your dress code. While many organizations are not mandating specific dress requirements (unless appearing on video calls), it’s nonetheless important to continue dressing professionally for several important reasons.

Humans tend to follow patterns and associate certain experiences with feelings. Many office workers feel good about themselves when they dress in formal office-wear and they associate that feeling with going to their place of work and doing business as usual. Likewise, when those office workers get home for the day, one of the first things they do is take off their formal clothes, bathe and change into some less formal and more comfortable. This shifts the mood from one of doing work to relaxing.

Dressing Professionally - dress for success

This psychological mindset is very important now as so many people work from home. If you’re now working from your home, a place usually associated with relaxation and comfort, and also dressing in less formal clothes while doing so, your brain might start to confuse the tendencies of home with work.

In some cases, people are becoming depressed through staying home so much and have started working in whatever they went to sleep in, often bathing less as well. According to The Ladders, working in your pajamas can have a negative impact on your mental health and productivity.[1] This can lead to less work being done, becoming easily distracted by home life, and even lead to depression as every day seems the same as the last.  This has a negative psychological impact on both them and potentially others they interact with.

Dress for Success and to Impress

Not only does dressing professionally impact routine, but the clothing itself can affect your mood. You may associate happy times with one outfit while another may evoke feelings of stress and anxiety. Dressing up professionally is important, but so is choosing the right look that feels good to you, both from a mental and physical standpoint.

Returning to the habit of dressing up allows you to get some of that focus back. You have something to tell your brain that it is time for work and you need to be zeroed in on what needs to be done. The dressing up doesn’t have to just be for yourself either. Consider adding items that you associate with work to your home office in order to help your mind stay in the pattern of work and success.

Finding the Right Balance

Dressing Professionally - work life balanceJust because you need to be dressing professionally doesn’t mean you have to adhere exactly to past dress codes. It’s recommended to find an outfit that will look professional on camera and signal to your brain that you’re in work mode, but is comfortable enough that you don’t feel like you’re taking things too far in the other direction.

Establishing a routine every morning that mimics your old routine can also help keep you better focused on work. Whether it’s having breakfast, drinking your morning coffee, bathing, doing the things you used to do for work keeps you in a routine, which is psychologically important to humans, especially during these stressful times. Adding in the task to get dressed in professional, but comfortable clothing for work every morning will also help solidify that work routine.

After work is over for the day, change into your comfortable home clothing, which also can help signal your brain that work is over and the time is now for the home.

Substance over Style

Dressing Professionally - substance over styleSome clothing can work better than others in terms of how effective you feel during the day. Enterpreneur.com recommends avoiding too many patterns, stripes or other items with too many distracting elements. Instead, choose solid, bold colors that help you keep your mind on your work, not your wardrobe.[2]

For those that apply makeup before they travel to the office, we recommend continuing that pattern as well, if it makes you feel more professional and able to associate that action with being at work.

Wherever you work, it’s also important to ensure it is well-lit and surrounded by items that are connected to your job rather than things to do with your home life. If you have a separate office you can retreat to, great, but if you’re stuck working out of a living room or kitchen, try to find a few items that help you think about work during that time of the day you’re working, then put them away somewhere after work is done.

Final Thoughts

It’s very important to find a routine that works for you where you can keep your work and home life in somewhat separate spheres during a time when so many people are forced to work from home exclusively.  Dressing professionally helps to solidify that “work routine” as does creating an atmosphere around your work space that exudes elements of your office space. These things will hopefully have a positive psychological impact and help you feel better able to tackle your work with renewed vigor.


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[1] https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/why-its-important-to-get-dressed-while-working-from-home-and-what-to-wear

[2] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/294107

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