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To Dress or Not to Dress: The Home-Based Business Owner’s Dilemma

To Dress or Not to Dress: The Home-Based Business Owner’s Dilemma

Thursday, May 5, 2016/Categories: IT Business Tips

It’s an age-old question. Get dressed or stay in your jammies?

Not exactly one of the challenges you imagine when you start a small business from home. And while there’s no definitive answer, we talked to home-based small-business owners willing to provide their take on the dilemma. Consider their evidence and you might find the solution that works best for you.

Pro Pajama: Be Comfy and Productive

Joanna Moss, owner of (@Joanna__Moss), says much depends on your type of business and your daily tasks. “I have days when I have to do editing, accounting, business development. And yes, I do a lot of that in my PJs,” she says. “I get a lot done in the morning if I don't stop to first shower, change, etcetera.”

Psychologist Nicole Martinez (@DrNikkiMartinez) agrees. “While there is a mindset to getting dressed and ready, there are ‘paperwork days’ where it is not going to hurt someone if you stay in your pajamas, as long as you can stay on schedule and focused.”

But Moss notes that it’s not the right approach for everybody.

“I'm quite productive when I'm cozy and can work in PJs, sweats, and a blanket. I know many people that aren't and they need to be ‘dressed for work,’” she says.

It might come down to your personality, so keep an eye on your efficiency. If you find yourself doing too much lounging in your sleepwear when you should be working, you may eventually miss a deadline and need to rely on an Errors and Omissions Insurance claim if the incident causes your client financial losses.

The Case for PJs:

  • Great for days of mundane tasks and no meetings.
  • Allows you to hop right out of bed and immediately start working.
  • Promotes productivity and creativity for certain personality types.
  • Super comfy.

Pro Clothing: Dress for the Part

“Nothing kick-starts your day quite like a shower (and a cup of coffee, who are we kidding), and putting clothes on,” says Kristen Pizzo, owner of .

“This doesn't mean you have to sit home in a tailored suit, but showering and dressing gives a person order, schedule, and purpose,” she adds. “You're setting yourself up in the mindset that you're at work.”

Pizzo says it’s too easy to disregard many things when we're in our pajamas because we've trained ourselves to relax while wearing them. “Plus, it makes changing into your pajamas at night so much more gratifying because you've earned your rest time.”

And it doesn’t take much to make the mental switch.

“I'm from the tech industry so I dress pretty casually most of the time,” says Han Chang, cofounder of (@investzen). “But my rule is no PJs ever. I'll put on jeans and a t-shirt at least, and definitely dress up a bit more (collared shirt, either polo or button-down) for video conferencing calls.”

Another benefit of getting dressed? It’s a basic requirement for leaving your house, unless you happen to live on a private tropical beach.

“I'm apparently one of the weird ones that don't get cabin fever and need to go to a coffee shop or co-working space,” says Chang, “but I know most remote workers at some point get too antsy and need some social contact.”

Chang adds that if it's a nice day out, he’ll sit outside in the shade and work “to get fresh air and a bit of sunshine!”

Try doing that without clothes! (You can, obviously, but we don’t recommend it for legal reasons.)

The Case for Getting Dressed:

  • Flips a mental switch that you’re getting the workday started.
  • Allows you to leave the house whenever you like.
  • Demonstrates professionalism in videoconference calls.
  • Can be as casual or as formal as you want to be.

The Verdict

Although there are some definite perks to remaining in a full-body onesie all day, the strong opinion seems to be that getting dressed is the way to go if you really need to work. The mental productivity boost combined with the ability to quickly change locations or have an impromptu Skype meeting are huge benefits for anyone working from home.

If you are absolutely dead-set on jammies, though, ease yourself into it. Find one day a week where your workload is less intense and see how the pajamas feel. If you remain as productive and on track as you normally do, then more power to you!

Your apparel isn’t the only thing that can affect your home IT business. To learn more, take a look at…

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