The work from home lifestyle is appealing for many reasons, including flexibility, scheduling and low overhead.
The challenge with the work from home lifestyle is: you are home. You walk past the laundry basket and think, “If I pop this load in, it will be one less to do later.” Soon that activity, leaves you following other crumbs along the trail of never ending work at home, that has nothing to do with revenue generating activities in business.
When you wake up, and have no appointments outside the home office - you may start on a project and find yourself 6 hours later still in your pajamas and fuzzy bunny slippers.
I get it. When I relocated my business in 2008 from a downtown loft office in Seattle to WWHQ -my daylight basement in my home - I had a hard time getting my groove on - at first.
I found my productivity groove got on track when I created some structure and discipline. I doubted I would gather the trust of potential clients and strategic partners if I was in my pajamas or sweats all day.
When you feel your best, you do your best.
I know I am more productive when I am dressed and ready for the day. I’ve even gone so far as to have “house shoes” - not slippers - but real sassy - and practical shoes to wear with my outfits on days I work from home.
I'd never given much thought to the perception from people on the outside, until a few months ago when a colleague reached out and sent me message that said, “I've noticed that you are business ready when I see you - in person or online. I get so tired or people posting they work in their PJs, post photos of their feet in slippers like its admirable, etc. Thumbs up from me on that - I've noticed!”
How great that she took the time to share her thoughts, and I made sure to express my gratitude at her noticing and appreciating my efforts.
Here’s my advice for work from home attire, the brand of you, and your productivity:
Dress for the role: My colleague above took notice. If she did others are watching too. How do you want to be perceived? I consider myself approachable and warm. My colleague and friend Kim Peterson, owner of Uniquely Savvy, helped me determine how that plays out in my attire, from work at home days through speaking to groups, attending network events and conferences and running to get the mail. If you want to be taken seriously in your professional capacities you need to recognize that for many, they begin their judgement about your ability to do the job, by how you appear online and in person. They are evaluating our words, our thoughts and our presence.
Know your brand: Just like your business has a brand, so do you the human. Know it and show it. I am far from a fashionista, but I know I want to convey professionalism, cutting edge ideas, practicality, warmth and a dash of humor. I’ve learned by working with a stylist, what that means for me. If you are unsure about investing in yourself with a stylist, I'll tell you as a business coach this will be money well spent.
Set a routine: Get up at the same time each day. Even if you don’t have any appointments on your calendar. Working for yourself is no different than working for someone else. Have set work hours. It will increase your productivity. Block your calendar to do certain tasks at certain times. If you are most creative in the am - block time to work on your next killer talk or blog post. If your energy wanes in the afternoon save those hours for tasks that involve “checking boxes”.
Set focus days: I learned this long ago in my entrepreneurial journey. There are certain days of the week that are for certain activities. As an example, if you are a blogger scheduling certain days/blocks of time for blogging increases your effectiveness in meeting your deadlines. It lets your brain stay focused on one set of tasks instead of jumping around and around.
What happens now? That is your decision. Establishing new habits and behaviors can stretch business owners.
I’d suggest checking out The Achievement Accelerators that just opened for admission. It’s the perfect combination of mastermind and accountability, to take your business to the next level.