How to Work (and Dress) from Home

Just because we’re working from home doesn’t mean that we should stop taking the time to get dressed in a meaningful way.

By: MARC RICHARDSONDate: 2020-03-18

This probably wasn't how you expected to find yourself working from home, but since we're here, allow me to share a bit of advice.

By now, you’ve surely seen a number of guides on how to maximize your productivity at home. But, take it from someone with years of experience in the art of working from the home office: The productivity will take care of itself.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be productive from 9-to-5, which is where it can start to get a bit tricky. If you’re not careful, the line between work and home gets blurred beyond repair. Emails go unanswered during the day, the responses instead drafted late into the evening, when you’d typically be reading or watching a film. Before long, your working hours encroach on all of your waking hours.

And, by the same token, it’s easy for your pyjama dressing to seep into your waking attire. Sleeping in and not getting dressed can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. When you’re not used to it, it can be liberating to spend a Wednesday in bed but working—answering emails confidently and promptly. (The person on the other end is none the wiser that your five o’clock shadow really looks like a five-day shadow.) But the danger—if one can call it that—lies in the fact that our clothes often set the tone for our days.

But, just because we’re working from home doesn’t mean that we should stop taking the time to get dressed in a meaningful way—to think about what we’re going to wear.

Do I walk around my home in a suit? No. But, if it makes you feel good, then why not? What I do—and something that I recommend to everybody who is suddenly working from home—is take the time to pick out clothes that will make me feel good. Maybe on Monday, that means wearing a cashmere sweater and a pair of well-worn jeans, but on Tuesday, it means French Terry sweatpants and a Supima cotton T-shirt with slippers.

And, believe you me, there are many.

Working from home means that gone are the morning and evening commutes with their traffic jams and crowded public transit. There are no lunches to prepare the night before. No colleagues making idle chit-chat when you really—absolutely—need to get back to that project.

Now, you have the freedom to wake up a little bit later and take a few extra minutes to enjoy your coffee and read the paper. You get to work from the comfort of the plush sofa you spent hours choosing, but haven’t quite gotten to enjoy yet (maybe with your favourite record playing in the background).

As counter-intuitive as this might sound, it’s a lot easier to enjoy all of those things when you’re wearing clothes that make you feel like your normal self. Not taking the time to take care of yourself has the effect of blunting everything around you. You won’t have as much time to enjoy the freedom of working from home. Your favourite record might not sound as great, that home-cooked lunch might not satisfy you the same. The whole experience will largely be for naught.

So—you’re working from home, welcome to the club. Do you want to make the most of it and enjoy all of the little things that make working from home a luxury? If so, wear the pyjamas for a few days until the novelty wears off. Then consider putting on some pants.

Marc Richardson is a fashion writer and photographer based in Montreal. His work has appeared on Fashionista, Grailed and Garage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter.

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