By Patty Buccellato for The Work at Home Woman
Did you start your workday at the computer in your snugglies this morning? Convenience is probably one of the reasons you started an at-home business in the first place. You can stumble from bed to coffee maker or kids’ room, to your office in less time than it takes most workers to plan their morning commute. It goes to follow that comfy clothes are a regular workday temptation. But like many other temptations, giving in is not always in your best interests.
Just as having a clear-cut workspace delineates the separation in mental focus from personal to business, “getting dressed for work” can shift you into a more purposeful mind space for the professional goals you’ve established. A well-put-together personal appearance boosts results in tangible ways.
Consider the impact on five success-producing qualities:
In a study of 100 women ranging in age from 21 to 64 — 96% “believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel.” (Most of us are aware that we’re judged significantly by appearance. Whether you’ve been ignored at a store for a better-dressed customer, or passed over for a promotion in the workplace, it’s likely you’ve had some direct run-in with the effects of appearance and dress.
If you’re in clothes that make you want to hide from others, that’s going to come across in your interactions – phone calls, emails, even your work product. If you in some way feel inferior, your behavior will reflect it. Let your brightest energy lead your workday choices by beginning each morning in top form.
It’s 9 a.m. Your competition gets an invitation to pitch new business at a prospective client’s office in an hour. It’s a client you’ve wanted to work with for months. Your competitor is out the door and en route before you’ve figured out where you last stored your mascara. Starting your workday with a ready-for-anything appearance puts you in the power position. Own the role. Your client roster and bank account will thank you.
Your business’ brand is more than your logo or glossy brochure. YOU are the living, breathing version of all that your company stands for. That impressive photo of you on your website is only valuable when it, and the “you” that shows up in real life, look like they both might, in fact, be the same person. (In this arena, the word “consistency” can easily be swapped for “credibility,” which is quickly lost when you’re not diligent with your personal brand.)
Casual is as casual does. A state of mind has a ripple effect. A body of study named “enclothed cognition” has documented as much. Dr. Adam Galinsky and his team at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University concluded, in their 2012 research that “clothes systematically influence wearers’ psychological processes.” If a high-quality, successful appearance can manifest successful thinking and results, why not take advantage of such an easy-to-mange tool?
It’s how risks are taken, and successes won. It’s elusive, though, when you feel shame around how you look. You weren’t born yesterday; you know others draw conclusions based on appearance (and, now, science supports your instincts). Will you be proud and confident to tell the person behind you in line at the coffee shop what you do for a living?
If you’re feeling less than stellar about the impression a stranger will get from you — you’re not as likely to put yourself out there and seize the opportunities as they present themselves
Choose the gainful version of a guilty pleasure next time you’re tempted to don your old college sweats in the office. Go casual with a professional edge. Like switching from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. You get to indulge in the yummy, comforting treat, but with future-reaching rewards.