Working from home again? Wondering how to get anything done whilst sitting at your kitchen table? Have no fear, as I've spoken to three very stylish women who are experts when it comes to staying sane when you're trying to work and not be distracted at home.
Obviously, not all of us are working at home. There are a lot of you who will still be going to hospitals, schools, shops, restaurants and factories, but hopefully some of these outfit ideas may still apply. And for those of you whose work is the home, then I'm very much of the idea that you have to 'Dress up to Perk up' as there's nothing that quite lifts your mood like a great outfit.
Having worked at home for over 10 years, firstly when I left the world of magazines and newspapers to go freelance, and now with TAE, I know a bit about the highs and lows of home working. The temptation to snack/to tidy up that random cupboard you haven't touched for years/to not leave the house because it's raining! Oh yes....I know ALL about that.....Your world can shrink and at a time when everyone's world has shrunk, it's important to keep a routine, get out the house and get dressed - working in pjs might seem a fun idea, but trust me, like all fun ideas, there comes a time when it has to stop.
But, don't take my word for it, here's what Kate Hiscox, music PR and award-winning fashion blog Wearsmymoney, Natasha Poliszczuk, Books Editor of You magazine and Wear & Where, and Ali Harris, author of Written in the Stars and Miracle on Regent Street have to say about it.
Music PR and founder of award-winning blog Wearsmymoney
"Always get up, get dressed. I try and go for a walk before the day starts (or later on if not.) I feel SO much better after I've had my walk outside and I'll go in any weathers). I also always have a decent lunch. I can't skip any meals. I also like to build in a cup of coffee and a slice of cake between 3-4pm. If no cake available then a couple of custard creams would suffice."
You can follow Kate on Instagram @wearsmymoney
Journalist, Books Editor of You Magazine and Editor of Wear & Where
"I always, always get dressed properly. No pjs here. And not just in any old thing, something which - if called upon to do so - I could hop onto a zoom call immediately. I feel better and I swear I work better when I like what I wear. For example, I will wear my lovely new Coco sweater with leather joggers of a gorgeous Lilly ruffle blouse with jeans (I'm very waist up conscious now as everything is via zoom!)
I try - now always successfully, if I have a big deal going on - to separate the day into work and kids. So, I work from 9.15am, stop at 3am, and if I need to, work again from 8/8.30pm. I would rather be 'present' (awful word, but you know what I mean!) with them, hear about their days, help with homework/instrument practice/do bedtime etc than divide myself. When I do try to do it all, I don't do any of it very well!"
You can follow Natasha on Instagram @wearandwhere
Former journalist and author of novels including Written in the Stars and Miracle on Regent Street.
"My main tip is to have a routine. I find I have to be up and dressed, and with a tidy calm space to work (not the kitchen where you're surrounded by distractions!) The temptation is also there to spend hours locked to your desk all day but working in short bursts is much better for your mind and body. Do 45 minutes to an hour at a time, then do something different. Go for a walk, prep tea for later, do some yoga....It'll give you more balance in your day and a clearer head throughout it and you'll be more productive too. Research says our brains can't concentrate for more than 45 minutes (for me it's more like 15!) before we get distracted and our production levels reduce.
Also, I always have and always will 'dress up' to work from home. Just like I've never been able to work in bed, I couldn't write properly in pjs or leisurewear. If I feel good on the outside, it helps my mental capacity to be in a creative and organised place (well, less so the organised bit, but I live in hope!)
You can follow Ali on Instagram: @aliharriswriter
And my tips!
- As Natasha mentioned, we are in the age of Zoom, so waist up is where the focus is - think beautiful jumpers, amazing blouses, gorgeous blouses, dresses with a fabulous top half....
- Also think about temperature. If you're anything like me, then you'll probably get cold sat at a desk, so a cardigan is always a good idea. Also think about wrist warmers, (which allow typing and stop cold wrists), slipper socks, sheepskin slippers (arriving online next week!) and a scarf or snood for your neck. I don't know why, but I'm always cold at my computer!
- Get out. Even if it's raining. There is always the temptation to stay in, especially when you have a lot to do, but a quick walk always does the world of good.
- Keep structure - get up on time in the morning, have a good bedtime and try and differentiate between weekdays and the weekend. This is something I've struggled with, especially with my business being online and social media focused, but I do try and take time out on Saturday and Sunday. The shop is still open, but the post office isn't, so I'm not packing orders or in the stock room much, which makes a big difference.
- Finally, like Kate, Natasha and Ali, I firmly believe in the idea of getting dressed in the morning, and the fact that the better dressed you are, the more you are in the right mindset to work. However, that's not to say you can't think of comfort. Who wants to be sat in too-tight jeans all day, when you could be in super-stylish joggers or a gorgeous buffet dress? Here are some great working-at-home pieces you can find online at TAE.