Many companies nationwide now require their employees to work from home as we all collectively attempt to thwart the spread of COVID-19. So, what difference does it make if you spend your time at home in your favorite ratty sweatshirt? Quite a bit, actually.

Technology enables pretty much anyone with an internet connection, from friends to co-workers, to easily log into a video service like Zoom and jump into a face-to-face conversation. Our own Poly home-office video solutions are so flexible, you could find yourself doing a video call from your browser, desktop, or mobile device. That means at any moment you might find yourself caught off guard by a sudden video request, and no one wants to start that meeting off with potato chip crumbs on their chest.

This raises the question, what are the guidelines for how you look when you work from home? The answer will of course vary by company, but in general it’s a good idea to stick to a few simple rules.

Rule 1: Follow the Leaders

You usually can’t go wrong by copying the head honchos. Dress as conservatively (or as lax) as they do. Now, if your boss has no guidance (or fashion sense), then maybe refer to Rule #2.

Rule 2: Stick with What You Know

You’re already in the habit of selecting certain outfits that are appropriate in your workplace, so just stay the course. Put on the same blouse or shirt that you’d wear to the office and you’ll always be ready to take a video call. Pro tip: You can wear the same shirt two days in a row if no one saw you on the first day (shhh).

Rule 3: TGIF

No one expects everyone to be in full-office fashion every single day, so what’s the lower limit for dressing down? A good guide is to wear something that wouldn’t turn heads if you wore your it on your company’s Casual Friday. Every company has a different policy, so know yours. Bonus tip: Most likely no one will see you from the waist down, so you can stay comfy in shorts, sandals, bare feet. Business on the top and party on the bottom.

Rule 4: Show Some Personality

In the office, you probably have pictures and other knickknacks that add some personality to your workspace. Showing up on camera in a ball cap or shirt with a college or team logo is an easy invitation to a conversation. Our CMO and EVP Amy Barzdukas keeps an array of bright lipsticks around her home office space, since she swears by adding a pop of color to her conversations. If you’re curious: Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in “Regal,” Chantecaille Magnificateur Levres in “2 Red” and Dior Addict Lip Glow in “004 Coral”.

Rule 5: How Low Can You Go?

Even if there’s no chance that you’ll be on camera (or out in public), you’re going to want to keep an eye on how you dress. Obviously you don’t need to put on your full dress uniform if you’ll be working in isolation. But be wary of going through every workday in a T-shirt and pajama bottoms. How you dress can affect your mood, your posture and your focus. Working from home requires a new kind of discipline. Putting in a little effort to look good and professional can help get you in the right work mindset. Saving your comfiest clothes for after work and the weekends will also help you leave work behind and mark a transition from work to leisure.

Your work from home wardrobe is an easy to overlook aspect of the new corporate reality. But with just a little effort you can maintain your look and your spirits for as long as your remote work experience lasts.


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