How Your Work From Home Outfit Affects Your Productivity
By: Caroline Maher
As the vast majority of the population switched to remote work over the last year, the concept of a company dress code took on an entirely new meaning. If you’re anything like me, dressing for success has inevitably fallen into the category of “business casual from the waist-up,” or simply put, Zoom-appropriate. Pajama pants have now become a staple piece in my everyday WFH outfit, taking casual Fridays a little too seriously.
While it’s easy to get sucked into the pajama-wearing vortex of WFH life, studies have shown that what you wear to work (a.k.a the couch) significantly affects your work performance. As much as I didn’t want to admit that alternating between joggers and my all-too-cozy pajama pants may be a deterrent in work-related productivity, I’ve concluded that these researchers have a point.
The link between your outfit, brain function, and work productivity has been a long-researched topic. And the findings? According to an article published by Wall Street Journal, psychologist and author, Dr. Adam Galinsky suggests, “We can often see ourselves and what we’re wearing, and that sort of draws that symbolic value [attached] to it even closer to our consciousness.”
“The theory of ‘enclothed cognition’ tells us that wearing clothes with certain associations can lead to you emulating those associations. Getting dressed into something you associate with being productive is likely to make you more productive.”Dr. Dion TerreLonge, British Fashion Psychologist
Not only is “dressing for success” shown to increase your performance at work but alternating between your work outfit and a comfy outfit at the end of the day further distinguishes work mode from relax mode, making it easier to unwind if you’re experiencing burnout. Cathleen Swody, founding partner of Thrive Leadership says, “Putting on your relaxation clothes or your ‘at home’ clothes, shifts your brain into, ‘I can relax now. I can shift gears. I don’t have to be operating at this high cognitive level.’”
So there you have it, folks. While these results may be a disappointing realization for those enjoying the casual benefits of working from home, subtly incorporating pre-pandemic behaviors back into your current routine may just add a little boost of inspiration and productivity to your workday.