Work from home could get as relaxed and careless as we want it to be. It is difficult to keep both the zones from overlapping, and impacting the effectiveness of each of the roles. So, one needs to cross over the psychological threshold from home to workplace much before one is able to define the physical boundaries.Being an image consultant, I strongly believe in the power of clothes. Wearing business attire during work from home helps me feel more motivated and confident. Psychologists have identified this phenomenon as ‘enclothed cognition’ – “the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes and also how he or she is perceived. Wearing non-work clothes once work is done helps your role to its best.
Business attire catalyses a productive mindset and prepares one for impromptu video calls. The improved self-perception from wearing business clothes cultivates a sense of control in uncertain times. You mean more business! Dressing professionally during work from home is an appealing solution as it may produce the benefits that wearing business attire normally does – looking and feeling cool, calm and collected. Maintaining separate wardrobes for work and non-work situations also mediates the mental transitions between ‘mostly work’ and ‘mostly non-work’hours.
Dress for success
But what does dress for success from work from home scenario actually look like? Dressing for success doesnot mean wearing your fanciest clothes from your closet – it just means adhering to your workplace dress code. A softly tailored look with a jacket and coordinated trousers and shirt would give relaxed formality of working from home. If you work in a law firm, hold a high-level position, or you are meeting with executives, then’business formal’ also known as ‘boardroom attire’, is likely the dress code for you.
Stick to neutral colors- gray, black or navy blue. Wearing a tie in a softer pattern will add interest up towards the face. Business casual is perhaps the most popular dress code – it allows more flexibility with what you wear. Avoid overly bold and jarring colors and patterns.
For women-wear, collared shirt and trousers with minimal accessories like scarf or pearls are recommended. If you choose to wear a kurti, always wear a collared one or take your dupatta as a straight scarf. Being modest in colors and patterns is the key. Since a video draws attention to the face, a well-groomed presence is quintessential for both the genders. A cravat for men and a fun accessory for women would add creative interest. It allows more leeway, but it does not mean we get careless with our grooming standards. Make sure your clothes are ironed. Never turn up in a dishevelled state. It creates a good impression to have devoted time to dressing appropriately for work from home. Pay attention to details like a watch. The right shoes give you a psychological safety. So, get ready for success while working from home.
(Chaudhary is a Chandigarh-based image and style consultant)