It's been precisely a month now since I've been working from home. What began as working in pyjamas, laying back on my couch/bed/bean bag with a laptop, and munching on something every couple of hours reached a saturation point about two weeks ago. Work from home sounds all fun and games until you find yourself at it for weeks with no end. Sure, cutting out on traffic blues, those long commutes to the office, and taking a break from the dress code at work can be relaxing, even detoxifying. But when you are putting in a hard day in the middle of a hard time, you deserve to be well.
Did you know that what you wear is both a reflection on and a reflector of your mood? Waking up in pyjamas, changing into pyjamas and going to bed in pyjamas may be comforting for your body but not necessarily for your mind, especially when you are working remotely and alone. Remember how a compliment from a colleague would brighten up your day instantly? You miss that kind of boost and so does your mental health. And it hit me harder than I'd imagined also because, as a writer, I'm constantly reading and writing about the pandemic.
Staying in PJs for a day or two or even a week is probably fine but given the prospect of working from home for a couple of months, not deciding what to wear to WFH can have a negative impact on your productivity as well as mental health. Many mental health experts and professionals from different industries have acknowledged such pitfalls of working from home. So, here are a few reasons why I dress up to WFH (that go beyond my love for fashion) and you should too:
1. Wearing 'work clothes' or even something relaxed (that's not pyjamas) for those designated work hours can help match your efficiency and productivity level to what you usually have at the office.
2. Change of clothes helps condition you to change your mindset. This helps prepare my mind for the working day ahead.
3. Of all the expert tips, this one by Charolette Armitage, a media and business psychologist at YAFTA (Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting), has stayed with me all along: "Routine is important for maintaining our mental health and getting dressed is an important part of that routine." That's reason enough.
4. Generally speaking, pyjamas are associated with a relaxed state of mind. Wearing pyjamas can also make you feel too comfortable and lazy, which can lead to lack of productivity and low energy levels. Imagine working on a Sunday. Now you get it?
5. Getting dressed can help set the tone for the day. Think about it--your favourite tee with baggy jeans vs your night suit. Which will make you feel more pulled-together?
6. Dressing up properly can help you feel pulled together. In fact, research has found that people feel more competent when wearing business clothes. That doesn't mean you sit at home in a pantsuit, no. Something as elegant and comfy as a casual shirt with leggings can also help get you there.
7. Changing back into your pyjamas after work hours can also act as a reminder that it's time to get back to some me-time at the end of the day. It's important for your mind to know that it's done for the day too. Besides, there's nothing better than getting into fresh pyjamas for the night.
8. Colourful clothes can be so rewarding. Bright colours such as red and pink release dopamine which can improve your mood and heighten the attention span. About time you picked that red top again!
9. If not every day, changing into something dressier than pyjamas every other day can also help you feel excited about work and your day ahead.
10. What matters more than 'what to wear' is 'how it makes you feel'. Wear something that makes you feel good. And pyjamas for 31 days of the month definitely won't. I say that with experience.
To conclude, I'd just like to say that not wanting to get dressed is also OKAY! You don't have to force yourself to get into something that doesn't make you feel good or comfortable in your home. But remember, your clothes will always be there if you're looking for some cheer.