Dress for Success—Or, Basically, Just Dress

Whenever people talk about working from home, they always seem to stress the advantage of being able to work in their pajamas. True, it’s really just a metaphor for the idea of being comfortable at work, as opposed to having to dress up in a “monkey suit” (another metaphor, unless you work for a circus) to go into the office. And wasn’t the idea of “casual Friday” designed to address (or undress) this?

Anyway, not having to worry about investing in a business wardrobe or pay weekly dry cleaning bills typically ranks high on the list of advantages of working from home. However, an important piece of advice we’re going to give you is:

Don’t work in your pajamas.

A recurring theme in all of these blogposts—and indeed in our book—is that working at home should indeed be working at home. And one of the ways of making working at home feel like work is to dress as if you were at work. Now, this is not to suggest that you should wear a suit and tie in your own home office, although we do know some people who do. There’s something to be said for pulling yourself out of bed and dressing appropriately to approach your business day. Wear trousers or a skirt (or at the very least jeans) instead of sweatpants, a polo or button-down shirt instead of a ratty T-shirt or tank top, proper shoes and socks (sneakers are OK) instead of flip-flops or slippers. And so on.

Not only does proper attire help get you into the psychological mindset required for the discipline of the home office, it communicates to others in the household (and neighbors who might ring your doorbell) that you are at work and thus should not be interrupted. It also conveys a professional appearance if you have to quickly jump onto a video-enabled Skype or FaceTime call.

That all said, though, if the home office scenario came about through your job loss, working in your pajamas can make you feel like you’re “sticking it to the man.” And, well, if that attitude motivates you to new levels of productivity, then go for it!