When you work from home, the temptation is strong to skip a shower and shave and stay in your pajamas all day. In fact, if you’re just beginning your transition to a home office environment, you should try it, at least once. It’s fun, you’ll see.
But here’s a list of six reasons why you shouldn’t let it become a habit.
1. You’re a professional, so act like one.
Guess what? When you work from home, other people assume that you’re slacking off. They don’t envision you dutifully sitting in front of your computer from 8 to 5, typing away. They don’t even envision you sneaking off to the gym for an afternoon workout. What they imagine is you lazing about on the sofa in your stained pajamas, watching reruns of The Golden Girls as you shove chips and salsa into your pie hole. Prove them wrong.
2. You need to be prepared for unannounced visitors.
Whether it’s the gutter installers you scheduled a month ago and forgot about, or your office supervisor who “happened to be in the neighborhood,” be prepared for the unexpected knock on the door. The very worst state of undress you can get away with is barefoot. Other than that, you need to be dressed and presentable.
Is this really how you want to live your life?3. You’ll feel better about yourself.
There’s another group of people who skip showering and live in their pajamas. Depressed people. And if you don’t start grooming yourself and dressing for work, you might find yourself becoming one of them. Being well dressed works wonders for the ego, but it works both ways. Being chronically poorly dressed does damage to your self-image.
4. Your family will respect you more.
How can you expect your spouse, children, and mother-in-law to respect your home office environment if you’re walking around all day like a zombie who just rolled out of bed? If you want them to understand why you can’t drop everything and run the kids to the library, you have to present the image of a working parent, not a sleepy one.
5. You need to be ready when opportunity knocks.
Maybe it’s a potential client who wants to meet for an impromptu lunch, or a catastrophe at corporate headquarters and they can’t figure out a solution without you. No one can predict when you’ll need to fly out the door and show up in person somewhere, but they likely won’t want to wait for your hair to dry.
6. You’ll get more done.
You read that right. Your productivity will be higher if you dress the part. When you try to work in your pajamas, there’s an unspoken message of casualness being sent to your brain. That message is: It’s fine to play a couple hands of spider solitaire while you’re waiting for your FTP files to download. That’s a distraction you don’t need.
You can do what you like in your own home, of course. You are master of your own domain. But respect yourself enough to maintain a standard that allows you to take full advantage of working from home, while at the same time retaining the trust of those around you who allow it to be so.
Now get dressed.
Kate Supino is a professional freelance writer and small business owner who writes about best business practices. She works from home. During the writing of this article she was wearing a Chanel suit and Prada heels with a matching pearl choker.