February 05, 2020

Does Dressing Affect our Productivity?

Last week I went for a business meeting. What stood out for me wasn’t the meeting itself, but how I felt throughout the day. I ended up being quite productive and was noticeably more relaxed in the evening. My mind went, “Oh, that was a nice day”, but my intuition prompted, “Look further”.

What was different about that day? I wanted to replicate that feeling for always. And here’s one of the things I pondered on, and what I’ve decided to test out for myself this week.

One major thing different that day was the dressing. I was formally dressed.

Since leaving paid employment years back & taking up the entrepreneurial life, my work dress code had changed over time. I mean, what’s the point in dressing up to go to the store, warehouse, or office for a shop that’s online anyway🤷🏻‍♀️? And so I gradually became extremely relaxed in my wardrobe.

Is it possible that there’s a correlation between dressing & productivity. There certainly is between how you’re dressed & how you’re addressed, or perceived. Except if you’re a very well-known Dangote, of course…I think no matter how he is dressed, he will be no differently addressed.

I decided to find out more and though there are mixed opinions on the topic online, here’s what I found that made me decide to test out the theory for a week:

  • There are studies showing that people tend to adopt the characteristics associated with for-purpose garments. That is, when we put on specific clothes (exercise wear, weekend clothes, formal clothes, etc.), we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with what the garments represent.
  • Secondly, ever notice how those that work in “millennial-y” work environments that promote relaxed work wear never seem to shut off from work? And it’s not only millennials working in those environments nowadays – increasingly we all are. And we’re all getting burnt out. Why? One of the characteristics of these environments is that it promotes casual dressing. Could it be that because there’s no marked delineation transitioning from work to home (usually occasioned by a change of clothing type), the brain doesn’t shut off from work mode? So we continue with work on our devices responding to Business DMs, work emails, & the like. Any wonder we’re burnt out?
  • Might be rambling…What do you think?
And what about you? Have you found your productivity to be directly related to how you dress? What are your rituals for getting out of work mode?