Dress Code Deciphered: The Home Office
These days many of us have the option of conducting some or all of our business from home a few days a week. Tempting as it may be to stay in your pajamas or workout clothes all day, it begs the question…Are your comfy clothes really the best uniform for work attire?
Sure, your home office can have a more casual dress code. However, to eliminate a dress code altogether would be a mistake. Paying attention to your grooming and your attire – even if no one will see you – could give structure to your workday that benefits you and increases your productivity. The routine of getting ready and getting dressed for work is one worth keeping, if for no other reason than to mentally (and visually) distinguish between a work and personal day.
Did you have a morning ritual when you used to go into the office? I encourage you to keep all or part of it. Take the time to shower or wash your face. Apply makeup, even if it’s minimal, to make you feel like you’re showing up to work looking your best. Get dressed for the day before you get consumed by email. Have your morning cup of tea or coffee. Read the paper or review your goals for the day. In short, p-r-e-p-a-r-e yourself for work, even if your office is located in the next room.
When it comes to getting dressed, be intentional. Don’t pull clothes from your workout pile or grab something that’s been tossed into the back of your closet. You can bridge the transition from y our home life to your work life using the language of clothes. Instead of throwing on an old, dingy T-shirt, wear a non-iron blouse in a pretty color instead. Skip the cardigan with the missing buttons or holes; wear one that is in tip-top condition. Say “no” to your sloppy pajama bottoms and “yes” to your best-fitting jeans. Substitute comfortable fl ats instead of slippers.
If you are not sure about the clothing boundaries for a home office, imagine yourself in three scenarios.
- You are expecting something in the mail and your mailbox is a distance from your front door. You are wearing your “work” attire. Would you be mortified if your neighbor or doorman caught a glimpse of you at your mailbox?
- A friend or colleague knows you are working from home today and calls you with a last minute lunch invitation. Would you be able to say yes, hop in a cab as soon as you hang up the phone, and head to the restaurant?
- Your boss sends an email and wants to set up a video conference in thirty minutes. Are you scrambling to shower and get dressed, or are you able to take the time and prepare for the call?
Celebrate the fact that you have the freedom to create your own dress code! Think about what makes you loo k and feel great, and what will motivate you to do the best job you can. Perhaps it’s a pair of crisp jeans with a silky jersey T and cascading front cardigan? Or maybe it’s a simple dress, boots and a long necklace? What about a tunic, legging and some statement jewelry?
Regardless of where you work, your work attire deserves thoughtfulness and respect. If you’d like help developing yours, just let me know!