Hats? Who needs ‘em? Trousers are wildly overrated. Even sucks are for sockers. I mean, socks are for suckers.
The whole concept of clothing stemmed from two desires: maintaining body temperature, and hiding our shameful bodies. Important in the classic office setup, certainly, with conditions being beyond your control and the gaze of your frankly frustrating coworkers falling upon you on a frequent basis — but what about in your home office?
If you’ve shifted to working from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown, you might well feel the temptation to don minimal comfort-driven garb (pyjamas, perchance, or just your duvet wrapped around you to mimic the mass of the Michelin man). You might even be inclined to entirely malign the desire for attire, scoffing at those suited-and-booted drones. You don’t need a suit to find suitable solutions. You don’t need boots to boot up your laptop.
Now that I’ve prepped it, I can swerve you with the titular angle: despite all the good points I’ve just made, you should put clothes on while working at home. Here are five reasons why:
You don’t live alone
This is simply a possible reason, but it’s a doozy if it applies. Plenty of people now working from home don’t have the luxury of living alone. You could put a lock on your bedroom (or office, if you have one) and work that way, but you’d still want to leave that room to use the bathroom, get lunch, or just take a stroll, and that would call for some hasty dressing.
Your housemates most likely don’t want to see you rambling in the buff. If you only live with your partner, they probably don’t want to see that either: not on a daily basis in a professional context. And if you have kids, well, they’re likely to be traumatised and/or point at you and/or laugh at you and/or throw things at you. Elderly relatives? They have enough to be worrying about without you offending their sensibilities (and their eyes).
There will be meetings
It doesn’t really matter what your job is, whether you’re a solo operator or part of a regular company: there are going to be online meetings, and people will expect you to have your webcam on. Even with some careful angling, a lack of sensible clothing (or any clothing) will eventually be noticed, and it will be held against you.
You could keep emergency meeting clothes on hand and change Superman-style in a nearby phone booth before each meeting, but you probably don’t have a phone booth nearby, and that is actually a vital component of the quick-change routine. It just won’t work otherwise, no matter how flexible you are (even elite-level yoga won’t help).
Nudity is uncomfortable
Your clothes are chafing you, and you yearn to be free, so you tear them asunder, or just remove them carefully to avoid damaging them. At last you are unencumbered, able to feel the breeze on your skin. It’s so refreshing! Wait, now it’s a little chilly. Now it’s a lot chilly. Turn up that heater and get to work, soldier! Oh, you’re sweating. And the material of your chair is itching you or sticking to you (the only two options).
Even if you delicately tweak your environment to achieve the optimal temperature, you’ll never feel quite right — plus you’ll be rather vulnerable. One great thing about clothing is that it protects you from pointy things. We humans are notoriously vulnerable to pointy things, and without fabrics to shield us, we’re helpless against edges and corners.
It’ll save on electricity
Regulating the temperature of your home to get comfortable isn’t just time-consuming and annoying: it’s also costly. Instead of spending your hard-earned money making the entire house hotter, you could fit vital areas with insulation to keep your heating bill down. What’s more, the insulation is handily designed to be easy to install and remove. Such is the magic of clothing.
You’ll feel much better
Sure, it’s true that we mostly dress to impress, but that still applies when we’re alone. You don’t need anyone there to glance approvingly at your stylish tie or let you know in no uncertain terms that your hair looks terrific. You just need to be able to see how you look in the mirror and imagine how you’d be viewed by the world, because that affects how you view yourself (and how you view yourself is huge for your mental health).
When you get dressed up for work while you’re at home, you feel like a regular professional, and you establish a meaningful distinction between personal time and work time. Once your working day is over, you can change your clothes and feel that you’re done. If you don’t dress up (or at all), then the conclusion to the day won’t feel very… conclusive.
By all means, enjoy your newfound working-from-home freedom by trying out some new clothing combinations — but don’t give up on clothing entirely. Clothes are pretty neat and they deserve your respect. Keep your shirt on!