Well, we’re 11 days into the 30 Day Try-on-athon where I try to answer the question: How do the clothes we wear affect our productivity as remote workers? Here are my first “insights”.
I’ve tried to have a new outfit every day. And I must say, I find it surprisingly annoying in the mornings. I simply don’t look forward to getting dressed up. Mainly, I just want to get to work. It’s good that this is an official experiment so that I have to motivate myself through my comfy-clothes-withdrawal phase.
By the way, Gretchen encouraged me to smile in my pictures – but it just looked so forced so I gave myself a break.
As expected, I don’t notice a difference in my actual productivity (with the exception of needing the extra 15 minutes to decide on an outfit). However, there IS a difference in the way that I feel. I host a lot of interviews and have a lot of client meetings. Dressing up makes me feel like I’m taking the meetings more seriously – especially since I can see myself in the video chat. Maybe I’m just overly self-conscious right now, and that will go away at some point.
I’ve also noticed that I prefer solid colors over patterns. I did not know this before. I also love purple. But this I knew.
On a side note, I do get a lot of compliments on my room divider – and in a way, it’s related to dressing up. I live in a very small apartment, and behind the room divider is my bed. It’s ok for when I’m talking to close friends – but for business meetings, I prefer something a little less personal, and more professional. While my current room divider isn’t perfect, it’s the best solution I’ve come up with so far (and new ideas are in the works!).
Being a remote worker doesn’t require us to dress up. After all, wearing comfy clothes is considered one of the perks! But so far, I feel that I am both being taken more seriously – and I’m taking myself more seriously when I give attention to both my look and my environment. And while it is annoying to not be able to just get to work in the morning wearing my usual “day-time pajamas”, there is a playfulness about all of this that I admit to really enjoying. 🙂
We’ll see if anything else comes of this in the upcoming 19 days. Any suggestions or thoughts?
If I were going to be on camera it would take many, many productive hours away from what I accomplish – so I just don’t. That isn’t the only reason, but it is a good one to me. I work with people around the world all hours of the day and night. No way do I want to be dressed up every waking minute. I believe there is a very good reason video phones never became mainstream. Who wants to have to be seen any time someone calls?
Some people go on video dressed in ways I would never do. I guess it works for them. Personally, I love the freedom of not having to volunteer to be in the fishbowl of online video. Online is forever and everything we do is being saved. The older we get, the less benefit there is to being on camera and the more not looking ridiculously thin, young and in style will hurt us. While I would like to talk to some people on video, I prefer my freedom to all else.
Hi Gail! I appreciate your perspective. I, too, work with people all over the world – at all kinds of times – and I find this whole dressing up thing a challenge 🙂
When I first started doing the video calls, I hated it – but I quickly saw that it offered a new level of personalization and engagement with the people I was speaking to (and it helps keep people focused too – no longer could someone pretend to be listening while actually checking their emails instead!).
A lot of my conversations are video interviews – http://www.lisettesutherland.com/interviews/ – so dressing up matters because, like you said, online is forever – thank god there wasn’t all this social media when I was a teenager! Some phases are better left in the past! 🙂
Wow, I really appreciate what you are doing! I recently had the pleasure of working with you briefly to set up an interview, and being a curious soul in a digital age, I noticed your website and figured I’d ‘see’ who I was working with. What a fun treat to see you taking on this 30-day challenge!
I, too, am a remote worker and also live in a small apartment where my bed is literally right behind my desk. If it weren’t for the fact that I work out with a personal trainer three days a week, there’s a good chance that most days I would never leave my apartment….and then, yea…what’s the point of dressing up? Haha…I even tend to go to the grocery store only upon my return from the gym so even then I’m still in my grungy-chill attire. And yet, I love fashion and expressing myself through my clothing…and so every time I open my closet I am SO sad to know that I will not be wearing half of my beautiful outfits, but then again, why would I get them dirty just to sit at home? That’s just more laundry for no reason, lol. But clearly there is a strong connection with sense of self, feeling ‘good,’ and not being in my ‘day-time pjs’ all the time!
This is fascinating. I may take up the challenge myself. Thank you so much for putting this out there!!
Hi Leslie, it’s great to meet you in this virtual context! 🙂 I completely relate to what you are saying.
I spend the first half of the day in my gym clothes…. I usually work until 11:30 and then go running. My first video meetings of the day start at 1pm, so that’s when I have to be dressed up by. And after that, it’s all video calls, all day. I rarely leave the house except to go on short walks around the block for air!
I used to do all of this in my comfy-clothes (my clean gym clothes)… but I kept noticing how my online collaboration partner, Gretchen, looked creatively fabulous every day – and it just got me thinking about it… and the try-on-athon was born 🙂
If I didn’t have so many video calls, there wouldn’t be much of a reason for dressing up. But because I’m being seen so much, I see that it matters on some level. And I’ve got fabulous clothes that have not been worn in years. The tragedy must end! 🙂
If you do take up the challenge, please let me know how it goes! And if you have any pictures you want to share, I would love to add them to the Try-on-athon photo album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/72814000@N00/sets/72157644418304431/