COVID-19 has led to many unexpected changes in how we live our lives and especially in how we do business. If you’ve found yourself thrust into the world of remote work in 2020, you’re not alone in navigating the challenges that working from home brings. From ensuring you’re dressed appropriately for screen time to figuring out how to set up your workspace, it can take some time to find a rhythm that works best for you.
Whether you’re new to working remotely or just looking to find ways to present yourself more professionally online, here’s how to dress for virtual conference calls and a bunch of other WFH tips.
HOW TO DRESS FOR VIRTUAL CONFERENCE CALLS
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best to stay in your PJs all day. When you’re getting ready for a virtual conference call, it can help to prepare for the occasion as if you were going into the office for an in-person meeting — at least from the waist up. (No one can see your funny socks, after all!)
Start with tops that feel comfy to wear, but mean business on screen.
Of all the articles of WFH clothing to pay attention to for your virtual conference calls, tops are definitely at the TOP of the list. After all, they are for the most part the only thing your viewers will see! When planning out your outfit, look for shirts that fit comfortably and look professional.
- Small details like sparkle or dainty embroidery are difficult to notice on screen, so opt for bold, solid colors that stand out and draw attention to your face.
- You can totally wear prints, but be careful that your choice isn’t too complex for a video screen that doesn’t work as quickly as our eyes do.
- Avoid graphic t-shirts with messages that aren’t work-appropriate.
- Flowy blouses are as comfortable as a nightgown but look much more put together for a work occasion.
Unless you work in a business formal environment where suits are still required or you’re making a very important presentation, you can probably save the button down shirts and suit jackets for when you’re back in the office.
When it’s business on top, it can also be a ~party~ on the bottom.
The last thing anybody wants, ever, is to have buttons digging into their belly all day. Thankfully, a silver lining of the pandemic is the embrace of stretchy pants! Especially since most people won’t even see what you’re wearing on your bottom half, feel free to get creative and stay cozy with everything from the pants on your rear to the funny socks on your feet.
- Black leggings are easy to mistake for dress pants, and when you’re home, no one at work will ever know the difference. If you want to have some fun, put on a printed pair for a pop of color.
- If you find you work your best in a pair of sweatpants, have at it! Drawstring pants are making a major comeback in the fashion world, and why not wear the ultimate at-home wardrobe staple when you have the chance?
- If you feel your best wearing a pair of jeans, or even dress pants, there’s no reason you can’t wear them for your virtual conference calls. If it helps the day feel a little more normal than the times we’re living in, there’s no reason you shouldn’t wear them.
- Express yourself with a pair of novelty socks that make you smile. Even if you’re the only one who gets to see them, it’s nice to have an accessory that brightens your day.
If you’re going to wear something wild below the waist, it’s best to be ABSOLUTELY sure they’re out of the camera frame — or else you’ll risk giving people a view they certainly didn’t ask for.
OTHER WFH TIPS FOR PRODUCTIVITY & CONNECTEDNESS
While dressing for comfort and style during virtual conference calls is certainly important to presenting yourself professionally through the screen, there are still other small changes you can make to help you better adapt to the WFH life.
Clear out the clutter.
It’s not easy to think clearly and focus on your work when the space around you is messy and disorganized. The New York Times has reported about the relationship between clutter and cortisol, and it makes sense that a cluttered workspace can seriously stress you out! To help you be your most productive, try to keep at least the immediate area around your computer clear. That means none of the kids’ laundry, no useless papers and no empty coffee cups should be around! Clean up your space after hours so that you can come back to “the office” with a clear head in the morning.
Designate a true workspace.
Even though not everyone has the luxury of a home office, try your best to carve out a space in your home that you can go to that has the sole purpose of being the place where you get your work done. Whether it’s a nook in your living room, the corner of your kitchen or a desk in the bedroom, add tools and accessories that help that area of your home feel more like a true workspace.
- Adding some greenery to your space with houseplants can help liven up the area as well as promote air quality.
- Stock up on some snacks so that you don’t need to keep venturing to the refrigerator throughout your day.
- Keep ergonomics in mind when setting up your computer and chair; a comfortable setup will help you work better.
Create a reliable workday routine.
When you work in a physical office setting, you naturally follow a routine without even thinking about it. Maybe you start the day with a morning run or listen to a business podcast on your drive to the office. You might call your friend every Wednesday once your workday is over or shop for groceries every Monday night. It can be hard to establish a reliable routine when everything around you is unpredictable, but it’s especially helpful to find little ways to create one when you’re working from home.
Whether it’s morning coffee at the kitchen table while your kids eat breakfast, making it a priority to take a walk around the block for lunch or logging out and hitting the (home) gym when the clock strikes five, taking steps to build a WFH pattern that works for you is empowering and helps to create structure in your day. When your home is your office, it’s easy for the two worlds to mush together — but it’s important to keep them separate with a reliable routine.
Stay social with your colleagues, even if you can’t see them in person.
There are many things that are not ideal about living through a pandemic, and one of them is not getting to see the people we care about in person. Whether you’re working from home temporarily or this is a lifelong career switch for you, it can be hard to deal with a lack of human interaction. To help you stay connected with your colleagues, consider arranging virtual meetups with them. Start a Zoom happy hour on Fridays, schedule regular FaceTime lunch meetings with your team or even start a Thursday night book club. It’ll help you maintain your relationships with your coworkers and might even bring you closer together!
LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD
As more and more employers consider turning this new normal into more permanent WFH arrangements, there’s more and more of a chance you’ll find yourself working from home. While it does take some time to adapt, there are quick ways you can ease the transition so that you can look (and feel!) just as great in your WFH environment as you used to in your office.
About the Author
Josette Olivera-Sanson is the Marketing & E-Commerce Associate at The Sock Drawer. She is known as the person you want to help you, who approaches each little detail thoughtfully but also has a strong sense of humor and a whip-smart attitude. Outside of work, she loves to dance, hang out with her cool husband and kids, and inject her upbeat energy everywhere she goes!