What do you wear when you are working from home? Do you have work clothes? I do, and I find it extremely helpful.
Perhaps you are the person who embodies one of those overused WFH caricature and works in your pyjamas? Or, perhaps you are someone who wears a shirt and tie above and Hawaiian shorts below? Maybe you just wear what you wear and don’t really give it any thought?
There are several advantages to having work clothes, a uniform.
I feel I need to apologise a bit here, I am writing from a male perspective. I know that the pressures are different for women, but I don’t feel at all qualified to talk into that context – not being a woman.
Anyway, back to those advantages?
Uniformity requires limited thinking
When I talk about work clothes I’m talking about a uniform that you put on each day. I’m not talking about sitting in the home office with a shirt and tie on, although, if that’s what works for you, why not? I’m talking more about have a defined set of clothes that you only use for work, and likewise, you only work when you are wearing those clothes. The variation in these clothes should be kept quite narrow, they should, in essence, be uniform. It helps if they all match with each other.
Uniformity takes away a whole stack of cognitive load – also mentioned in Tip #1. Having a defined set of work clothes removes the morning effort of choosing, effort which, in most of our WFH situations adds no value.
Changing partitions the day
I have work clothes, I also have non-work clothes and I try to keep the two separate. At the end of each day I go to the effort of changing out of my work clothes into my non-work clothes. Whilst this is a physical activity, it is also a mental activity, by changing my clothes I am finishing my working day and moving into my non-working time.
I’m trying to enact a feeling, telling myself that work has finished for the day. This change of clothes partitions my day, I am stopping doing one thing and starting to do something else.
Wearing work cloths means that I am at work
Whilst changing moves me from one mode to another, wearing the WFH uniform reinforces my sense of being at work. Distraction is a challenge when you work from home, the work clothes reinforce my concentration during work time. Again, I’m trying to enact a feeling, the feeling of being at work.
Give a workwear uniform a try, you might actually like it 😊
Addendum: I also have a different aftershave for the weekend and holidays. It provides another mental signal that differentiates work time and non-work time.
Header Image: Looking towards Nicky Nook – a wonderfully names local hill. It’s beautiful around here and the lush greens at this time of the year are stunning
New to Graham’s WFH Tips? Here’s a handy list to help you catch up.
- Graham’s WFH Tips – Some Advice for a Changed World
- Graham’s WFH Tip #1 – Routine is your friend
- Graham’s WFH Tip #2 – Wear Work Clothes (this one)
- Graham’s WFH Tip #3 – Put your Superpowers to work (but don’t overuse them)
- Graham’s WFH Tip #4 – Thinking Music
- Graham’s WFH Tip #5 – Enjoy You Spaces
- Graham’s WFH Tip #6 – Plan your first day back before you leave
- Graham’s WFH Tip #7 – Make Time to Stand Up and Get Moving
- Graham’s WFH Tip #8 – Lighten Up – you need more than you think you do…
- Graham’s WFH Tip #9 – Find your Social – It doesn’t have to be about work all of the time
- Graham’s WFH Tip #10 – Lift Your Focus and Feed the Birds
11 thoughts on “Graham’s WFH Tip #2 – Wear Work Clothes”
For most of my working life I never really had a sharp distinction between ‘work’ and ‘life’ so I always chose clothes that allowed for the seamless blending of the two. This was especially true while working from home, so the idea of separate clothes never occurred to me. Since I’ve always shaved in the bath and used a light moisturiser I’ve also never tried aftershave. Many fragrances give me a migraine, so our house is essentially a fragrance free zone too