I recently received an interesting question from a gentleman who works from home and was wondering if he should be thinking about what he wears when he's in his home office. It's tempting to just throw on some sweats every day, so he was wondering if it matters at all.
Fair enough. My response? Absolutely.
You should always think purposefully about what you wear for work, even when you are working from home. Now I'm not saying you should wear a suit to sit in your home office -- you can save those for client meetings. But I do think you should consciously think about what you wear and make sure it reflects who you are and what you do for a living.
The truth is you are out and about all day long, perhaps without realizing it, even when you are working from home. A quick run for coffee, a pickup at the post office or maybe even a drop off at school.
All throughout the day you are meeting and engaging with people, so it's important to appropriately showcase your personal brand. Each person you come across could help you in your endeavors or refer you to others. Entrepreneurs are a helpful bunch, so don't be afraid to talk about what you do and make sure you look like you do it well. These folks you encounter are forming impressions of you and your work with each interaction you have with them. Make each one purposeful.
Dress the part, dress your brand.
If you're a consultant, look like one. If you're a writer, then make it look like you're a successful one. If you're an artist, paint a picture of being in demand.
I'm in a creative industry that is very much tied to pop culture, so I always try to look like I know what's going on. I have a signature look, so to speak, that includes colorful shirts and an accessory or two. It's fun to throw in a scarf, hat, big belt or tie to complete a conscious look. I dress this way even when I'm working from home for the day, partly because I tend to be on Skype calls and my colleagues expect me to look the part no matter where I am. I even wear my shoes, even if I'm home all day.
But there's an even more important reason to dress purposefully in your home office. Getting dressed puts you in a mindset of personal success. It helps motivate you to be productive and puts your head into play. If you sit around in your PJs all day, then you'll be less likely to get into your game, and probably less likely to interact with all those people who may be able to help you.
So dress the part and be your brand. Or as John T. Molloy wrote in his infamous book, Dress for Success: Give it a try and let me know how it feels!