Working from Home and the Dilemma of Dressing
Meriel Clode delves into the dilemmas of dressing when working from home
Many of us are now loathe to read one more article, news piece or story on coronavirus. It has permeated every aspect of our lives with an unprecedented prevalence, so I am going to focus on clothes instead. With government guidelines dictating that any non-key workers must work from home, and that schools and universities must remain shut for the foreseeable future, millions of us are doing something that we’ve never done before: working or learning entirely from our homes.
Now that our offices and classrooms have become studies, bedrooms or home offices, we are free to wear what we like. Not having to put on a suit and tie, or a school uniform, may be one of the few perks that has arisen from this crisis for many of us. Joggers and a baggy jumper, pyjamas, perhaps, or, for the less slovenly among us (as my mother would phrase it) jeans and a T-shirt, can be the new work-appropriate-attire. Naturally, if you have a Skype or Zoom meeting, your top half at the very least needs to appear formal (there is something quite liberating about wearing a shirt on the top, and joggers on the bottom!). But, on the days where no one outside of your immediate family will see you, of which there are many, the dilemma of dressing arises when we have to contend with the mood that correlates to our clothes. By this I mean that joggers are all well and good, until you find that they seem to hold a mysterious power that transports your focus from the work in front of you and over to the sofa. Maybe this is because joggers and sofas share an unspoken affinity, in the same way that pyjamas and a wooden/work chair seem to repel each other, but it is undeniable that a nap-break, Facebook-scrolling session or trip to the fridge seem much more irresistible when you’re working in loungewear.
So perhaps, to save the less strong-willed among us from our lazy vices, dressing as though we are being monitored by a semi-lenient superior is a good idea, as least for the hours when we want/need to maximise our productivity – or maybe, we should just accept that lower productivity is an inevitability during a pandemic, and wear whatever we want.