One of the reasons why people prefer remote work is because they don’t have to get too dressed up. For many people, comfortable sweatpants beat a suit and tie any day.
But did you know that the smart casual dress code has been popular even before the pandemic?
Travelodge conducted a survey back in 2018 and found that only half of all participating workplaces have a formal dress code. The rest wear smart casual clothes instead. Furthermore, a whopping 75 percent of the 2,000 respondents shared that they dress casually every day.
It looks like “Casual Fridays” have long been spreading to other days of the week – and could very well be the rule rather than the exception moving forward.
What’s An Appropriate WFH Outfit?
Working remotely gives us the freedom to wear anything (provided that there are no on-cam meetings).
However, it isn’t actually advisable to work in your pj’s – tempting as that may sound. Remote work is work, after all.
While it’s good to be comfortable, dressing up to look the part can help. It’s a good way to signal our brains that it’s time to work. For how can we stay awake and motivated if stay in our sleepwear all day?
However, there’s no need to be extra. A simple button-down shirt is enough to look sharp, as is any collared top. No matter how casual your “smart casual” is, the important thing is to keep the outfit clean and presentable. If you can answer an impromptu video call without having to change, your outfit will most likely suffice.
The Clothes Make The Man (Or Woman)
Believe it or not, your WFH outfit has an effect on your productivity.
What you choose to wear at work, remote or otherwise, sends subtle psychological messages to your brain. And these messages actually reinforce how you perceive your role in the workplace.
A group of professional social scientists conducted a study and found that people “felt more authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire.” (Which gives a new meaning to the phrase “Look sharp,” I suppose.)
Thus, if you want to feel more confident about your leadership skills, try to dress a little more formally for -cam virtual meetings. It will likely increase your feelings of authority and grant you a more heightened sense of control and restraint, traits which any effective leader typically exhibits.
Conversely, if you want to lighten the mood for a more casual discussion, the same study recommends wearing more relaxed attire. This can help you give off a friendlier vibe that can help your team members feel more at ease.
So in case you can’t decide what to wear, just ask yourself what vibe you need to project on a particular day.
Striking a Balance
Company hierarchies have become flatter and more democratic in the previous years. Currently, many working environments are a lot less rigid, allowing most employees to dress in a more relaxed manner.
However, we should take care not to be too casual, though. We still need to dress the part to an extent, especially if we’re leading teams. Or companies. Particularly when the situation demands it.
As I’ve pointed out previously, how we look doesn’t just affect people’s perception of us. It also has an impact on how we carry ourselves. So if we want to maintain authority in a more relaxed and informal setting, we must strike a careful balance between dressing comfortably and looking sharp – especially if we continue WFH.
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