Once clothes have been washed and ironed, they’re typically placed on hangers or folded to save space for storage. Unfortunately, clothes are often discarded at an astonishingly fast rate, contributing to our global crisis of waste, pollution and climate change.
Studies indicate professionals perform better when wearing clothes with symbolic meaning, so can we dress for work at home too?
1. Creating a Separate Space
Ideal home offices should be situated in rooms separate from the rest of your house – such as an extra bedroom or corner of the living room – to help differentiate work from leisure, keeping focus solely on task without distraction from household duties, TV shows or family.
An isolated workspace can serve as a visual signal to others that it’s time for work, and they shouldn’t interrupt you. Selecting decor that evokes nature, art or personal mementoes can also help put you into an efficient working mindset and increase productivity.
Switching into and out of work attire is also an effective way to mark the transition between professional self and everyday self. This phenomenon, known as “enclothed cognition”, can have profound ramifications on how we perform – for instance a suit may give off a powerful vibe while wearing something casual can induce feelings of relaxation and comfort.
Work from home has become an increasingly popular option since the pandemic. Not only can it save on transportation costs and give more flexibility and freedom in life, but for optimal efficiency it must have its own space and established routine. To maximize productivity in working from home it is vital that a separate area be designated as your office space and you establish clear routines to support efficient productivity.
2. Creating a Separate Environment
An optimal work space can boost both long-term productivity and short-term efficiency. An individual home office helps define work from leisure time and prevent temptation to ditch weekly Zoom meetings in favor of lounging around in sweatpants or hoodies instead. Furthermore, its separation can make resisting distractions like TV or the internet much easier.
Clothes can be an expressive means of showing our authenticity and engaging with life. This phenomenon, known as enclothed cognition, explains why suits may increase testosterone while nurses’ uniforms increase empathy – although these effects don’t always take the same form based on context of wearability of clothing.
An individual workspace will help distinguish your professional and personal lives, so wearing your best attire when working from home is also beneficial for drawing the line between them. Doing this will reduce clothing waste.
3. Creating a Separate Environment
Home offices provide a space where we can distinguish work from play. By changing clothing throughout the day, changing between work and play can reinforce this distinction. According to the “enclothed cognition” principle, clothing influences our feelings which in turn determine our performance; wearing a suit increases feelings of power while a nurse uniform promotes empathy.
Working from home during the pandemic necessitated us adjusting to more casual outfits such as T-shirts and jeans; however, some found wearing work attire inhibited their performance as it can create stress or pressure that negatively impacted work environments.
As soon as we return to our offices and businesses, establishing a space where work can be accomplished should be a top priority for all. Doing this effectively requires creating an area free from distractions from home; for long-term effectiveness.
4. Creating a Separate Environment
Setting up a separate home office may be possible if you have an empty room or other designated workspace available to you. Being able to close off this area will help create the feel of working separately from personal life while giving you time for change in and out of working clothes quickly and efficiently.
Clothing conveys a powerful message in the workplace. Studies have been done showing how professional attire can inspire feelings of engagement and power in workers; however, this research was done pre-pandemic; therefore its effects may differ with your home office after pandemic outbreak.
Clothing’s effects on our behavior depend heavily on context. For instance, nurses’ uniforms increase empathy while suits decrease it. Understanding this concept of “enclothed cognition” will enable us to make smarter wardrobe choices; perhaps wearing a suit to your weekly Zoom meetings but not for coffee shop visits would be appropriate attire choices.