Professionalism While Working From Home – Our corporate hell work culture has “expectations” and “recommendations” for maintaining a sense of professionalism. Suggestions for staying productive while working from home include separating your work space from your sleep space, building a routine even during non-work hours, and most egregiously, wearing normal office clothes during the week day.
In an op-ed on Friday, Los Angeles Times fashion editor Adam Tschorn wrote that his work from home wardrobe was shaped by three R’s: “ritual, respect, and reality.”
“Please, can we all put away those sweatpants, ratty, gray, decades-old collegiate sweatshirts and obscure minor league baseball caps,” Tschorn said. “And start our workdays looking like we deserve the paychecks we’re lucky enough to be earning while the world around us burns?”
Twitter, understandably, was incensed — so much so that the poor social media editor on duty sent out a defense of working in pajamas.
Look, if there’s a time to take care of yourself and be as comfortable as you can be, it’s in the midst of a devastating pandemic. Having a job and receiving a regular paycheck is an immense privilege right now, especially as unemployment and furloughs skyrocket. But what do you have to prove by putting on street clothes?
I firmly believe that you should wear whatever you want while working from home, and that having the mental fortitude to put on a real shirt makes you just as deserving of your salary than someone who’s been wearing the same sweatpants all week.
Today, I’m wearing an oversized t-shirt from volunteering for my college radio station’s pledge drive three years ago, a pair of green bike shorts that I also wore yesterday, and a floral lilac bathrobe. This morning I slathered my hair in a deep conditioning mask and have been wearing it coiled in a towel all day.
It’s a sharp contrast to the “black-and-red check Brooks Brothers non-iron, button-down shirt, a pair of black Levi’s 559 five-pocket jeans, Stance socks and black Adidas Samba AV sneakers” Tschorn listed in his piece, but I’m comfortable!
I’m still getting stuff done! And I’d probably experience the same despair and panic that I feel every day if I was wearing a more “professional” outfit instead of my current one.
When the coronavirus spread grew to a serious concern last month and Mashable began working from home, I did try to adhere to more stringent work from home suggestions. I avoided working in my bed. I still wore leggings, but tried to put on a new pair every day. I even put on concealer in the mornings. But the anxiety spiraling continued, even with a sense of routine.
If you’re facing the same overwhelming exhaustion that I am, be nicer to yourself. A viral tweet from a few weeks ago has become my mantra: “You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”
You’ll still be able to do your work, regardless of whether you’re wearing a button-down shirt or a ratty collegiate one.
Tschorn argued that the worst part of messy work from home attire is knowing what your coworkers look like when they’re at home.
“What is seen cannot be unseen, and some day you’ll all be back together, clustered around a conference table,” he said.
And that is perfectly OK. If anything, this pandemic’s new work from home culture is a reminder that the people you work with are human beings with lives, too. Who cares what they’re wearing? The entire world is grappling with a devastating virus, and everyone’s dealing with it differently.
There are limits if you’re going to hop on a video call, you should at least wear clothing. But at the end of the day, you should be able to wear whatever you want while working from home, whether that’s yesterday’s bike shorts or (ugh) real pants. Do what you need to cope.