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Remote Workers Weigh In: What Do You Really Wear When Working From Home?

In a bid to cover some remote worker FAQs, through our new series ‘Remote Workers Weigh In’ we’ll be asking our team some of the most asked questions about what it’s really like to be a remote worker. 

Like many of my peers working in somewhat ‘creative’ roles, I’ve never worked in an extremely corporate setting before. The closest I got was a fairly reputable digital agency where the directors all wore suits. There weren’t any dress codes placed on the creative teams, so most of us wore some form of ~smart casual~ (which, if I’m honest, I still don’t think I actually know how to define). After that, I freelanced for a few years working from my home and coffee shops and had stints in smaller, more casual, agencies which never once mentioned dress codes. The directors were more likely to wear hoodies and sneakers than anything else, and I think they would even get changed during the day if they ever had meetings with big clients to avoid wearing their ‘nice’ clothes all day. All this to say, I’ve never had to wear corporate attire or concern myself too much with clothing choices outside of my own personal tastes and comfort. 

And yet, when it came time to interview for a remote position with Shield (all conducted entirely over Zoom), I must admit I was a little stumped. I’d be taking the interview from my living room, but I did still want to look somewhat presentable. Would they be able to tell if I wasn’t wearing shoes? Those memes of corporate up top, pyjamas down the bottom definitely came to mind while I was thinking it over. In the end, I think I settled on a simple button-down and jeans — something I would regularly wear when leaving the house.

Funnily enough, this seems to come up a fair bit in my reading around remote work. Particularly now that so many offices have taken to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I think we can all agree that requiring people to wear uncomfortable suits at home is kind of ridiculous. But the debate over regular clothes vs sweats/pyjamas is still hotly pursued. So last week, I asked our Shield team to weigh in and share what they wear while working from home.

To be clear, we don’t have a clothing policy. It’s simply tied to our value ‘be human,’ which encourages empathy, understanding and consideration of others. We want everyone to be comfortable and able to accommodate whatever else they might be doing in their day.

I wear a T-shirt and shorts and usually a hoodie. The hoodie gets me into work mode. I also seem to think it’s professional workwear because I always ‘dress up’ for my Zoom calls by pulling on my hoodie. 

— Sujay, Product Marketing Manager

At home, I prioritise comfort above all things. 90% of the time I’m wearing a t-shirt and shorts. In the morning I wear “working out” t-shirt and shorts. In the afternoon I switch to “lounging around” t-shirt and shorts. It is a subtle but important distinction. The “out in public” t-shirts that I used to wear to the office now just hang idly in my cupboard.  Occasionally they get taken out on a weekend. Of course, if it’s early in the morning, I’m often still in my pyjamas. If it’s cold, I’ll add tracksuit pants and a hoodie. And if I’m dressing up, I’ll put on my best hoodie. Or maybe wear an “out in public” t-shirt. I have not selected a Zoom Shirt

— Tim Burgess, Co-Founder and Director

Days with calls where I have to be fancy I do a v neck t-shirt with shorts, otherwise it’s just a regular t-shirt and shorts lol

— Jake Sedlacek, Project Analyst 

I actually get dressed most days but still quite casual — jeans and a comfy tee. There are definitely still days that I’ll wear track pants all day, but they aren’t too common. Even though I’m home most of the time now, I still feel like I need to go through my ‘morning routine’ which includes choosing an outfit to feel like my day has ‘started.’

— Bree Caggiati (Me!), Journalist

Currently in my PJs and a warm comfy robe… But normally I’ll start my mornings with comfy sweatpants and a basic t-shirt or sweater (jumper). At some point in the day, I’ll eventually change into workout/yoga attire. On a good day, I might put on a nicer shirt and a cute headband for meetings 🙂

— Angela Moon, Content Marketing Manager 

I’m in gym gear from when I get up till after I’ve done HITT and then I generally walk to get a coffee (still in gym gear). After I shower, it’s either shorts and a t-shirt, on a really good day, maybe jeans and a t-shirt. 

— Duncan Macintosh, Co-Founder and Director 

One of the big features of remote work is judging workers based on their outcomes rather than arbitrary indicators like how long they are sitting at their desk or what clothes they wear.  

Part of what makes us really value flexibility in location and work hours as a company, I think, is allowing our team to make their own choices around what works best for them. We don’t talk about this too often because it’s kind of a given. But, this also extends to things like what we all wear, how we take our breaks, how we structure our schedules and everything else that makes up the ‘work’ portion of our lives. 

For me, working in sweats or pajamas can be fun every now and then, but for the most part, makes me feel really unproductive and unmotivated — something I became quite acquainted with over the lockdown period. So, I try not to do it. Not because I can’t, but because it doesn’t work for me. 

 Clearly, other Shield members don’t struggle with the same thing! 

 But that’s the beauty of flexibility within a team — we get to choose, and not just choose what we like best, but what actually works best for us. 

– Bree Caggiati

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