Since I started freelancing from home, I have discovered the joys of spending my working days in PJs and a scruffy t-shirt (or thick jumper, depending on the season). To be fair, I was never much of a slave to fashion when I worked in an office. Back then, although I paid some lip service to the company dress code, I usually wore a pair of trousers, a long-sleeve t-shirt and casual shoes. Dresses and heels were never my thing. These days, not having to get dressed for work is a godsend. I can be at my desk within 30 minutes, ready to start work.
Despite my slovenly ways, I recognise that lounging about in pyjamas is not for everyone. Some people just can’t work that way. I guess I am lucky. I can work pretty much anywhere and my current attire is entirely irrelevant. If I am in the mood to work, I just get on with it. If I am feeling tired and ‘off’, it’s more of a struggle, although a cup of coffee helps for a while.
Suitable Work Attire
For most people, work attire very much depends on what type of work they do. For example, I write for a living, so the chances of me being asked to make a last-minute trip to visit a client are non-existent. If I do need to speak to a client, I talk to them via Skype or instant messenger. For some people, face-to-face meetings are essential, so an unplanned trip out is always a possibility. In this instance, being dressed and ready to go is probably a bonus. If you have had a shower, are dressed for the office and your passport is handy, you could conceivably be out of the door in less than 30 minutes.
Dressing for Visitors
Being suitably dressed is also useful if you have unexpected visitors turn up. Delivery people probably assume I am a lazy layabout when I answer the door wearing a dressing gown and PJs with my hair sticking up all over the place. Who can blame them? The fact that I have an office upstairs and a work schedule that sometimes has me working 12 hours a day is not apparent to an outsider.
Let’s be honest here. It looks more professional when you answer the door wearing smart clothes. I find it’s also helpful if I decide to nip out to the shop for a pint of milk. I have yet to go shopping in my pyjamas and slippers. Even I draw the line there.
Separating Your Personal and Professional Life
Wearing appropriate work clothes helps to differentiate between work and home. When I first started working from home, I sat on the sofa with my laptop. This was OK, but not terribly comfortable. I wanted a workspace, but there was no room. Since then we have moved to a new house and I have an office set up. My desk is large enough for my laptop and at least one cat. The other two cats sleep in a bed beneath the desk or on an adjacent chair. My filing cabinet is nearby and the kitchen is down two flights of stairs, so I am less motivated to slack off and make a cup of tea every hour.
I find that it helps me to have a separate workspace. It’s useful when I have workmen in, which has been the case for the last couple of weeks. I can close the door and keep the noise (and dust) out while I work. As long as the cats are with me, they are happy.
My desk is also large enough to have a space for the biscuit tin. It’s important to take regular breaks, and it wouldn’t be a proper tea break without a nice biscuit!