Can dressing up every day to work from home make you more productive?

When the pandemic hit our shores in March 2020 and working from home became a requirement, many conundrums came into our lives.

Who would mind the kids?

Can you call in sick from home?

How does one get oneself off mute on Zoom?

These were the questions that haunted us and still do to this day.

However, one of the most perplexing issues that came with remote working was the question of daily dressing.

At first being at home 24/7 was a novelty. We stayed in our pyjamas all day, worked from the confines of the duvet and only got out of that daily habit when we needed to.

Picture of Édaein O' Connell on a colourful background

Sadly, too much of a good thing turns sour in time, and lazing about in a WFH daze became a bad habit.

As we now move back into office life, many will be adapting a hybrid model of working.

Some days you will be office bound and others you won’t. On the days spent from home, the urge may be to rid yourself of corporate clothing and spend your time naked at your home office desk, but is this good for productivity levels?

As a freelancer, the majority of my time is spent at home.

My home is my office, my office is my home. The only thing separating the two are walls and a door.

Over the past two years, I have formed some of the worst remote working practices.

First, I became addicted to working from my bed but found myself dozing off regularly.

Then, instead of creating a work/life balance, my entire focus switched to my job.

And when it came to style and beauty practices, I all but forgot what it meant to dress up.

While wearing pjs all day was lovely for a time, my productivity suffered.

It felt like I was always getting ready for bed or was switching to holiday mode.

Then I realised something.

The women I saw, respected and looked up to on Instagram didn’t seem to spend their days makeup-free and wearing Primark’s latest fluffy loungewear.

Despite working from home, they got up every day and completed their beauty routine and put on clothes that made them look and feel good.

To me it appeared like their levels of productivity correlated with their outfits and makeup.

Showing up for themselves helped them to then show up for others.

And so, I decided to test the waters and discover if my theory held weight.

For six days, I attempted to beautify myself to see if would make me a more productive person.

Here is how I fared.

Sunday

Okay, so maybe a Sunday was a bad day to begin testing my idea. Raised in a Catholic household, I still hold onto the notion that Sunday is a day of rest. This is despite the fact I haven’t regularly attended mass in years.

However, on this particular Sunday, I was working, but sadly, didn’t make it to the desk from my bed. I remained in loungewear for 24 hours, finished my work and then poured myself a glass of wine.

Monday

Monday was a little better. I usually begin my week with a 6am personal training session. I’m up with the birds and usually it’s my most work positive day. My head is clear, my body is revived and I feel I have an edge on everyone else.

After a morning shower and coffee, I change into leggings and a jumper. While I could have attempted to fix my face, I thought my skin had quite a glow to it so decided against it on this occasion.

All in all, a good and solid productive Monday.

Tuesday

I woke on Tuesday with good intentions. A full face of makeup on, I was positively delighted with my beauty exertion.

However, at lunchtime, I realised that all morning I had been sitting naked under my dressing down (which you can see in the picture above).

While I wasn’t clothed, my makeup gave me a certain feeling of power. Not only did my work levels stay steady during the day, I finished the evening with a walk and a gym session.

Wednesday

On Wednesday, I was on fire. I had to catch an early flight from my home in Kerry to Dublin city for work meetings and I made a serious effort. Smart Djerf Avenue pants, a black body suit and an oversized Mango blazer made me feel like I had the red button right under my table. The power I felt in a simple outfit was electrifying.

I was a woman on a mission.

Thursday

It seems the vibes of Wednesday flowed straight into my Thursday. However, the difference was that I spent most of the day at home.

Wearing a similar outfit to the day before, I felt like I had the ability to write articles, send emails and cook 10 dinners all at once. Maybe it’s me?

Or maybe it’s the blazer?

Friday

Friday is always a tricky day. You are either winding down from the week or getting yourself geared up for the weekend ahead. As it was the final day of my challenge, I had a notion to push the boat out style wise, but ended up choosing my go-to working at home outfit. A simple oversized jumper and leggings may not be the most exciting outfit in the fashion sphere, but it does the job.

I paired it with some simple makeup and as they say, got sh*t done.

Verdict

Dressing up gives you an edge. On the days where I dressed to impress and had my makeup perfect, I felt a rare shot of confidence. It could have been the strong edges of my outerwear but something was different. It felt like because I was showing up for myself, I became a better and more productive version of me to the outside world.

Yet, there is a but.

While it is a lovely thought, I simply couldn’t dress like this every day. In my line of work, my days differ and some days all I can manage is leggings and a jumper and that’s ok. There are days where there simply isn’t time to sit down in front of a mirror and make my face flawless.

My productivity levels may not be at boss level standards during those times, but I get the job done and that’s all that matters.

So what happens from here? Who knows, but I will make a conscious decision to dress for myself and preen my face at least twice a week.

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