Whether you’re temporarily working from home or it’s been your setup for quite some time now, you’ve probably caved into the temptation of wearing last night’s pajamas the entire day. (No judgment, we’ve all been there.) Sure, it’s nice to just roll out of bed and start your daily grind without having to get primped in the morning, but studies show that perhaps it’s best to take the extra time and prep as if you were actually heading to work.
It may seem ridiculous for some, but those who have tried it out (myself included) can attest to its psychological benefits. Slipping into your favorite blouse, blazer, or maybe even boots, can psyche yourself into work mode real quick. Here's proof to back it up:
A change of clothes signals a change of mindset.
As we’ve mentioned before, having a work-from-home schedule for yourself can help you stay productive. Changing into a new set of clothes can help you jumpstart that routine.
“When the routine of getting changed into new clothes for working at home is practiced enough, psychologically you become conditioned to associate the changing of clothes with a change of mindset, psychological pace and focus, therefore preparing you for the working day ahead,” shares Charlotte Amitage in an article for Stylist.
Moreover, staying in your pajamas while you work may be hampering your productivity, as you associate those clothes with rest, comfort, and relaxation.
“The idea of staying in PJs all day has some negative connotations associated with it and therefore if we behave that way, we can start to feel lazy and demotivated, which in turn leads to a lack of productivity and low activity levels, and consequently starts to create a negative vicious cycle,” she says.
That said, it’s better to get dressed and prepped in the morning before beginning the daily grind. It’ll make you mentally prepared to start a day of work.
Your choice of clothes also matters.
A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that people perform work tasks better when they wear clothes that have symbolic meaning. This is called enhanced cognition.
The study took the lab coat as an example. It’s a simple white cotton smock, but calling it a lab coat gives the wearer a sense of responsibility and authority. Doctors were found to perform better when wearing a lab coat.
That said, if having a work-from-home outfit is important to psyche you up for work in the morning, what you choose to wear also matters.
Pick out clothes that you associate with positive things, like those that boost your mood or make you feel more empowered. It can be as simple as your favorite T-shirt or your favorite workout shorts. It can also be more fashown—like your go-to pair of office trousers or that blazer you always wear for presentations.
As long as that article of clothing puts you in a better mood for work, that’ll do the trick.
It ultimately makes you more productive.
In a word, having a work-from-home outfit stimulates you to get more work done. So, if you haven’t adopted this routine yet and have been living in your PJs for a while, it might be something to consider—especially if you’ll be working from home for a longer period of time.
“Although a dress code may seem silly when you think about working from home, work clothes impact you on a business and personal level and can affect your career,” shares workplace expert Mason Donovan with Fast Company.
Getting dressed in the morning with nowhere to go may seem like a waste of time, but with these psychological benefits in mind, a work-from-home outfit might just be that extra productivity booster you need.