I’m a freelance journalist. Like many other freelances, I work from home.

Working from home has advantages, but home-based journalists need to be more disciplined than those working in newsrooms or editorial offices.

One productivity trick I’ve learnt over the years is I work better when I feel better. And I feel better about myself when I’m smartly groomed and dressed.

Although I start early – most days my work begins before daylight – I shave, shower, brush my teeth and dress before switching on my computer.

That way I’m ready to take a pride in my work. I look professional and, more important, I feel professional.

There was a time when I’d jump out of bed, drink a cup of tea and go straight to work in my pyjamas. I found it doesn’t put me in the right frame of mind.

I don’t go crazy – my suits stay on the hanger and I’d never wear a tie. There are trainers or boat shoes on my feet. I may even skip ironing a formal shirt and choose a rugby sweater instead, although if I have an ironed shirt ready I’ll wear it.

This approach has three advantages. First, I work better. Second, I’m not embarrassed if someone comes to the door – even if the most frequent visitors during the day are Jehovah’s witnesses. Finally, if I have an appointment later in the day – which happens two or three times a week – I don’t have to race to get ready before leaving the house.

There are exceptions. On slow days I may take a break to fix the car, do some repairs or mow the lawn. Then I might sit at my desk in old or scruffy clothes. But I still go through the shaving, showering and teeth brushing before work.

3 thoughts on “Why I dress for work, even though I work from home

  1. I’m a mathematician doing my PhD, and as this semester I don’t have any lectures to give I stay at home two weekdays. And I do as you do: dress up as always. When I didn’t follow this simple trick, as you say, I wasn’t as productive, it was far too easy to skip work and do random web surfing or whatever.

    Also getting out to buy some groceries comes easier (and helps with your mood, sunlight is good :).



  2. How timely: this came up as a related post regarding another post I was just in the process of reading.

    Just yesterday I told my mother about ‘this excellent old school Fleet Street journalist’ and his excellent post about the importance of getting up regularly with a sense of purpose. Please excuse my terse introduction.

    Her cat recently died and she is having to adjust to not being woken for feeding duties at the crack of dawn. I have directed her here. Hi mom.

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