Now that every state in the U.S. is starting to reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s time to start thinking about what your work lifestyle will look like once things return to “normal.”
The president of Global Workplace Analytics, Kate Lister, estimates 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. There are many employer benefits to letting employees work from home, so we may very well see a shift towards a higher number of remote workers post-COVID-19.
With that being said, many of us can expect to readjust to a new normal post-pandemic. Maybe you started working from home when lockdown orders went into effect, but you never truly adjusted to it, believing you’d be back to the 9-5 office grind before you knew it. Maybe you like working from home and plan to keep doing so going forward. Or perhaps you miss the office structure and expectations, but your workplace is slowly shifting to WFH.
Whatever your case may be, if you’re going to be working remotely in the future, you’ll need to learn how to create a work-from-home lifestyle that’s just as productive and professional as the office. One surprisingly impactful way to do this is to focus on your wardrobe. It’s proven that what you wear impacts your performance.
Here are some tips for stepping up your dress post-COVID in order to give the best performance in your remote job.
Cut out the pajamas and sweats
We know that one of the best parts of working from home is the freedom to roll out of bed and log into work from your couch. But, while it’s very tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, there is reason to dress nicely while working remotely, even if no one will see it.
It’s easy to think the main benefit of clothes is what they communicate to others. We always hear the advice to “dress the part” and “dress for the job you want.” This sends the message that our clothes serve to label us to others. While that is very true, our clothes do just as much to control how we view ourselves.
While it may feel ridiculous to dress up to go to your desk at home, you’ll find a big difference in your productivity. When you’re dressed professionally, you feel that you’ve embodied the “role” of your job position. This makes it easier to get into the working headspace and stay productive for a long while, just like you would in the office.
Treat your home as an office
In the same vein as dressing yourself for success, dress your surroundings for success. A study by Universiti Teknologi MARA wrote, “Temperature, air quality, lighting, and noise conditions in the office affect the work concentration and productivity. Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that characteristics of the physical office environment can have a significant effect on behavior, perceptions, and productivity of employees.”
This means you should strive to create an at-home work environment that is most conducive to your peak productivity and happiness. For most, that means setting up a designated home office space where you can have quiet apart from your noisier family members or pets.
Look nice for those Zoom calls
Even though the work-from-home lifestyle usually limits your social interaction to your immediate family, Zoom and other video call services make it necessary to show your colleagues your face from time to time. If you foresee the work-from-home lifestyle sticking around in your future, you’ll want to become a master of looking great on Zoom.
Here are a few key elements to perfect to look great and make a great impression on your next video call:
- Hair and face: This one’s obvious. Make sure your hair is combed and styled. If need be, make sure your face is shaved cleanly or touched up with a modest amount of makeup.
- Wardrobe: Plain, solid-colored shirts show up best on camera, as busy, patterned clothing can be distracting.
- Lighting: This one’s important. Don’t stick in the shadows! Make sure your face is adequately lighted to be easily seen by others. Facing a window with plenty of natural light is the best idea, but if that’s impossible, sit in front of a lamp. [Whatever you do, make sure the light source isn’t behind you.]
- Background: Make sure the room behind you isn’t cluttered or distracting. This is yet another way to convey professionalism. The more “boring” your background, the better!
- Perspective: This is a big one. Make sure your camera isn’t shooting you from too low or high an angle. Neither is very flattering. And back up! The closer you are to a camera, the more distorted your face will look.
Kamarulzaman, N., et al. “An Overview of the Influence of Physical Office Environments Towards Employee.” Procedia Engineering, Elsevier, 19 Dec. 2011,
Louis, Molly St. “Research Shows That the Clothes You Wear Actually Change the Way You Perform.” Inc.com, Inc., 8 June 2017,
Johnson, Cynthia. “20 Reasons to Let Your Employees Work From Home.” Entrepreneur, 14 Dec. 2015, www.entrepreneur.com/article/253896.
“Work-at-Home After Covid-19-Our Forecast.” Global Workplace Analytics, 12 Apr. 2020, globalworkplaceanalytics.com/work-at-home-after-covid-19-our-forecast.