Home is where the heart is. And for many of us the last few years, where our 9-5 is. On the bright side, the commute is unbeatable. But if we aren’t careful, it’s easy to fall into a routine that promotes isolation. Some mornings are harder than others to leave the cozy weighted blanket cocoon and change out of those comfy PJs to be productive. Is it even necessary? Experts say yes.
But psychologists and stylists agree that you should get dressed for the day and maintain a structured morning routine. It’s important for maintaining a sense of balance for a full-time remote worker. Getting dressed even when working from home, in a co-working space, or in remote offices impacts your productivity, mood, and mindset, says wardrobe stylist Sydney Murdock.
Let’s be real, there's no need to go all out. You're still at home so comfort is key. Most bosses don't expect remote employees to wear the same wardrobe they'd sport for a demanding full-time job. But finding a balance between that comfort and the structure of getting dressed for the day will make all the difference.
For women, Murdock suggests a comfortable dress, like a t-shirt dress or sweatshirt dress. You'll still feel like you're wearing pajamas because they're so comfortable. However, she explains that you can take them to the next level by layering your favorite sweater or cardigan over it. Keep it chill with white sneakers or house shoes that are stylish and comfortable.
She suggests a button-down shirt in a comfortable, breathable fabric for men. You'll still feel professional as a virtual teammate, but you won't feel as restricted as in the office. This type of shirt also means you're ready for remote meetings at any time of day without scrambling to change.
Speaking of, do you have any video conferences on the schedule? Murdock says to look for more structured and polished details around the head and neck. Consider more professional touches like collars and buttons, embellished sleeves, and adding simple jewelry. Video calls typically show just the face and shoulders of dozens of employees at once, so you'll blend in.
As for fit, Murdock says, go oversized to get that extra comfort you crave at home. You'll feel comfortable during conference calls as part of the remote team, but you'll still look nice for virtual meetings.
Keep Your Space Tidy and Well Supplied
Having ample office supplies is important. Everything from a coaster for your coffee to the necessary software tools to keep your job going smoothly need to be positioned and easily accessed.
One of Murdock’s personal philosophies is to set up comfortable office chairs, one for working at your station, and one for your breaks where you would have a quick scroll on your phone or read a couple of pages from your favorite book.
Set a Schedule
At-home attire isn’t the only thing that benefits from structure. Your schedule needs it too, according to Jenn Simpson, LISW-S, trauma therapist and owner of Thrive Therapy, Inc. The freedom of the WFH lifestyle is great, but setting time limits can help you stay on track throughout the day.
Simpson suggests creating a schedule for your day that includes self-care, movement, productivity, and emotionally filling your cup. She adds that getting into this rhythm will help you feel more control or influence over a situation where a lot of that control has been taken away or shaken up.
Start with a consistent nightly routine and bedtime window. Simpson says having a routine that you do every night, whether that's lighting a candle and taking a bubble bath or just taking the time to wash your face and change into PJs, can elevate your overall mood. Do your routine consistently to train your mind that it's time for bed.
Simpson suggests the same for your morning routine. Waking up around the same time and taking care of yourself with things like good hygiene and a change of clothes will signal it's time to take on the day, she explains. It will make you a more engaged player in the remote team, which is crucial when you're working with dozens of employees.
As for physical activity, Simpson says you should schedule it just like remote meetings. No daily office commute doesn't mean you can't follow a similar routine. Stand up consistently, take walks, make time for getting some fresh air.
Murdock says this is the time for your leggings to shine. A casual look at the home that's uid for your day can include leggings and a layering tank or graphic tee. Add a denim jacket you can take off for a lunchtime yoga session and throw it back on for your afternoon video calls.
Simpson says it's also important to do something that helps you feel productive and accomplished. This approach can encompass work, learning, finishing a project, or something new, she explains. When you ll your day with remote meetings, you need some time to work on something tangible, too.
Take a Break
Lastly, it's important to do something once a day that fills your cup. We all need to refuel. We can't be giving, giving, giving. We don't have an endless source of energy and attention, so take a break from your remote team to do something that inspires you.
Simpson suggests diving into a hobby, reading a book, journaling, or connecting with a loved one. Just make sure you weave something that fills you up into your schedule, she says. We're being pulled in a lot of directions during the coronavirus pandemic, but this type of activity helps pull you back to your center.