Should I dress up when working from home?

November 2, 2020

The world is moving towards working from home. Whether you are a teacher, a lawyer, or have been working from home for years, the last few months have changed the work from home dynamics.  One of the things that have changed the most is the effect of work from home has had on people's daily habits, including what to wear.  

You roll out of bed, sometimes take a shower, hopefully, brush your teeth and then comes to the all-important daily question, do you have a video meeting. When you don't have a video meeting, your outlook on how you put yourself and your outfit together changes drastically. Some studies have shown that 1 in 5 people admit being brushing their teeth less often, and 54% saying that they dress up only on days that they know they have a video call.

person on couch

So the question is, what do I wear when I am not going to be seen by anyone else? Clothing plays a critical part in your self-confidence, so when you start to reach for those sweat pants, think about how this will make you feel.  That Zoom outfit has been the source of multiple articles about what people are wearing.

But the question is, what should you wear? Should you act like this is normal, get dressed like you are going into work.  There is not a perfect answer, but one thing to consider is, are you as effective at your job when you are in your sweats? For many people, the answer is no; when you are not putting effort into your outfit or your appearance, you start to care less in general.  However, many experts have weighed into the psychological aspects of wearing clothing at home.

"We are all going through an unprecedented and stressful time in history," said Rheeda Walker, a professor of psychology at the University of Houston and director of the school's Culture, Risk, and Resilience Lab. "If folks aren't up for dressing for the cyber world as they would in the office, that is completely understandable. We can cut ourselves some slack if, mentally, we're just not up for the pomp and circumstance."

So like so many things in life, balance is vital. Maybe decide that a few days a week or on days with important meetings, you are going to get dressed like you are going into the office, and for casual days you go very casual. I know that I have been switching off and have found that on the days when I take a little more time on my outfit, I can tell the difference, and it makes the quarantining less depressing.  

Back to blog