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Swapping Dress Pants for Sweatpants? Not so Fast!

Virtual Working

For many of us, working from home was not an option until a few weeks ago. This shift has required a lot of adjusting: from our morning routines to finding ways to maintain focus to staying social (be it through Zoom or FaceTime with colleagues, friends, or loved ones).

But let’s be real—a huge shift for many remote workers is saying goodbye to dress pants and hello to sweatpants.

I’ve worked from my home office for the past few years. Initially it was a few days per week; now full-time. When I first started interacting with colleagues in a virtual environment, we would joke about pulling a “Donald Duck”: looking good from the waist up, with sweats or stretchy pants down below.

I don’t have a problem with sweats. However I’ve learned that there does come a point at which being comfortable can go a little too far. (The expressions on the faces of those you cohabit with say it all, trust me!) If you find yourself going about your day in the same clothes you wore to bed the night before, you may have crossed the Comfy Line of No Return.

Research has shown that taking care of your appearance, regardless of whether you only go out to grab the mail, is a sign of self-respect and has psychological benefits. Making the effort to get dressed helps you feel good, boosts self-esteem, and fosters professionalism in the remote workspace.

If you are new to working from home, the habit of self-care should come easily. You’ve been perfecting this routine every day, so why change things up now? It may be helpful to behave as though you were still heading into the office.

Mindset is half the battle, but here are a few additional guidelines to help preserve dignity while working remotely:

1. Make the bed.
As soon as your feet hit the floor, pull the sheets tight and fluff those pillows. Congratulations on your first (of many) little victories today. In a recent blog from The Aligned Life, author Jenn Stevens shares the power of this small habit. “It’s easy to do, takes a minimal amount of time and yet creates a tiny sense of pride and satisfaction—a small but important win that sets the tone for the rest of your day.”

2. Shower. Shave. Smile.
Luckily Smell-O-Vision isn’t a thing yet, but that doesn’t mean your morning hygiene should wait until your workday or (hopefully not) workweek ends! An article from Fast Company talks about grooming routine as a great way to signal to yourself that you're beginning your day and it's time to be productive. (I also recommend its other helpful tips!) Smiling, even when forced, has been found to lift your mood.

3. Get Dressed.
“Getting dressed” is more of an intention and state of mind than the clothes you choose to wear. To those naysayers who proudly rock athleisure, that’s okay! Your home dress code does not have to be office casual. Ultimately as long as you’re feeling positive about yourself and staying productive, what you wear is up to you. However, the takeaway is that you should make a ritual of getting dressed. What you put on in the morning and the process of doing so should send a signal to your brain that your workday has begun.

4. Get Undressed.
What did you look forward to after a day at the office? Once you determine when the workday wraps, stick to it. Set a boundary to shut your computer down and lower your cell phone. Kick off your shoes, change out of your work clothes, and settle in for Netflix, an adult beverage, and dinner. Whatever you decide, create a balanced structure for yourself and follow through.

Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean it’s the weekend all day every day. Wake up each morning and show respect for yourself, your career, and your virtual colleagues by getting dressed! Put in the effort, you’ll be glad you did when your boss wants to have an impromptu video call. This leads to positivity and productivity while working from home.

Now that you're dressed for success while working from home, why not boost your virtual collaboration skills? Check out the suite of virtual training programs we provide to help your team work better together from a distance.

About Kristin Mattison

Kristin partners with Directors of Client Solutions to ensure our clients’ needs are exceeded. She loves working for a company that practices what they preach: Helping people work better together.