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Do you dress in ‘office wear’ when working from home?

Diane Hall


Woman laying on bed working from home

One of the good things about working from home is the convenience. No commute, and you can simply roll out of bed and get straight to work.

According to some, however, though we have the opportunity and privacy to be able to work in our PJs as remote workers, should we wish, doing so could have an impact on our productivity levels. Just as having good organisation and a firm routine when working remotely can help us work more effectively, dressing up for the home office can have the same effect.

It’s certainly a good idea if your role involves Zoom calls or Team sessions and your webcam has to be on; after all, night-time dribble and bed hair does not give off a professional image.

Though comfort is important—probably more so when working from home—you can further separate your work and home life with the clothes you wear.

Over the last decade or so, many public workplaces have become more relaxed about what they allow their staff to wear, such as smart jeans and jumpers instead of boots and suits, for example. Therefore, dressing in ‘office clothes’ may actually involve the attire you’d normally wear around the house.

I think the reason some people are suggesting a smarter look when working from home is the rising popularity of loungewear, which can look similar to pyjamas. It’s wonderfully comfy to wear loungewear (or tracksuits) when carrying out your normal daily chores at home, but it’s not the sort of clothing you’d likely wear if you were working from your employer’s workplace. Smart jeans and a tailored shirt/top would certainly be seen as a step up from this type of clothing.

The clothes we wear have the power to make us feel good (or bad, sometimes). If we feel like we’ve made the effort to appear professional and smart, this feeling can increase the energy we put into our work, according to clothes stylists. Doing so can also help us ‘switch off’ at the end of the day, as we change back into our loungewear or PJs—it’s then a clear sign that the working day is over. One of the downsides of remote working is that the lines can blur between work and home life; a change of clothes can help strengthen the divide.

Woman in home office remote working

Woman in home office remote working

According to fashion stylist Sally Mackinnon of Styled by Sally, ‘When you feel like you’ve made the effort to get dressed and put on something you feel good in, then you’ll be more likely to approach your day with confidence and with purpose. People underestimate the power of clothing and how it can make you feel – good or bad.’

Ayresome Primary School in Middlesborough has seen a rise in the number of parents wearing their pyjamas to drop their children off in the morning. Some of the parents interviewed by a national newspaper claimed that they had no need to change clothes as they were only going to be working from home once the kids were settled in school for the day. Other parents at the school have objected to this perceived slovenliness, saying that it doesn’t take more than a few minutes each morning to get dressed, and that it sets a standard (or, rather, lowers one) if people simply roll out of bed to the school gates in the same clothing.

If your employer is happy for you to wear whatever you like when carrying out work for their company from home, then the invitation is there for you to make the choice. I do agree that comfort is everything, but ‘workwear’ doesn’t have to be stiff and uncomfortable to be smart, and I do think there’s some merit in the ‘your mindset will follow suit if you dress for work’ theory. That said, only you know what works for you, in terms of boosting productivity and increasing motivation—maybe the option to do your work in your PJs or loungewear brings a certain appreciation and loyalty that boosts these things anyway.

What’s your take on this? Do you feel better equipped and ready for work, when at home, if you wear actual workplace appropriate clothing? Or does what you wear have little effect on your work rate? Tweet us at @intheknowemag

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