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

Not everyone can feel professional in pyjamas. In fact, much research has shown the benefits of dressing up for the part, even if nobody sees you. Photo: Westend61/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only in connection with the aforementioned text and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full

It makes more sense than ever to dress casually to work. After all, most of us are no longer schlepping into the office every day and not being seen by colleagues while we work at home.

For video conferences you can quickly throw on a decent top without having to change out of your comfy tracksuit bottoms.

But how does this kind of behaviour influence the way we think of ourselves and our productivity? Do we really work better in a business shirt or blazer?

Several studies say that we do. For example, researchers in the United States found that people who have to remain highly focused find it easier to do so while wearing a white lab coat, which is associated with doctors and scientists.

While you are unlikely to throw on a doctor’s coat while working from home, clothes matter. “The working day begins in front of the wardrobe,” says Petra Lienhop, an employment coach from Germany. “Appropriate clothing increases self-esteem and self-confidence and makes one work more productively.”

The effect also depends on what you yourself associate with particular clothes. “If you’re used to putting on a suit or blazer to work,” says Carolin Pfau, a member of the German Coaching Association.

“Then you have come to associate work with that clothing all these years.” It could thus be part of an ingrained behaviour, resulting in higher productivity.

“If you dress sensibly to work from home you enter a different mind-set,” psychotherapist Andreas Pichler explains,”although there are certainly people who can manage this in their pyjamas.”

Your ability to organise yourself and your level of maturity will determine how far you can successfully deviate from the usual pattern, Pichler says.

For coach Pfau, however, self-perception is only indirectly important. “It’s mainly about the external effect we achieve through our clothes,” she says. People who think that others perceive them as more competent and serious in elegant clothing will feel more comfortable wearing those sorts of clothes – and will thus appear more competent.

Our experts agree that you should choose clothes that give you confidence because this will boost your inner mood, especially on days when you don’t feel at your best.

Clothes can also help keep you focussed in a home environment that may have more distractions than a traditional office environment. “Smarter clothes can be a sign to the rest of the family that you are not approachable for private matters,” says Pichler.

Another advantage is that changing clothes marks the beginning and end of the working day. “Getting dressed and walking around the block once can really help to start or end the working day,” says Petra Lienhop. – dpa/Bernadette Winter

Source: The Star