WORKPLACE / MAR. 08, 2016
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Can Your Clothes Make You More Productive?

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Did you know that what you wear at work can make you more productive? Research shows that certain clothing can influence the wearer’s psychological process and affect their overall performance and effectiveness at work. The way this works is that your clothing influences your state of mind and affects how productive and focused you can be on your work.

An experiment conducted by researchers Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky showed that clothing can determine the level of alertness of workers. When study participants were asked to wear a white doctor’s lab coat their attention on work was increased. But when the same people were told to wear what was perceived to be a painter’s coat they weren’t as attentive as when they wore the doctor’s coat. What this means is that the influence of clothes depends on wearing them as well as the significance they carry for the wearer.

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These study results reinforce the idea of embodied cognition which refers to the idea that how you look affects how you feel. The truth is that clothes and appearance can affect the way how other people perceive you, but more studies confirmed that there is more to it than that.

Fashion psychologist and professor at the University of Hertfordshire Dr. Karen Pine, explains that dressing casually can make you feel less focused and alert. She says: “When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”

This is why some people prefer to wear formal clothing as it puts them into the ‘work mood’. Another study conducted by Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl confirmed that people who were dressed in formal attire felt more authoritative, trustworthy and competent but friendlier when wearing casual attire. What’s interesting about the work dress code is that the less strict it is, the less anxious people feel about it and don’t waste much time worrying about the fact their clothes are going to be acceptable or not.

So it really depends on what you are going for, how your clothes make you feel and what kind of impression you want to portray to other people. For example, you might want to dress smart to impress, and be more efficient, or you might want to dress casually so that you can chill out properly. You just have to wear what you think is appropriate for the situation.

What I mean is, it only makes sense that when you wear skinny jeans and can’t breathe you won’t be able to concentrate on doing any work as the only thing you will be thinking is when you get off work and get out of those jeans. All you need to do is decide which type of clothing makes you feel more assertive, more comfortable and gives you the right attitude.

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Choosing what to wear at work is one way to enjoy freedom and independence at work. So, in a way you can decide whether you want to be productive by dressing formally or take it easy and wear your PJs and slippers. Just make sure you check in with your boss first!

So what do you wear at work? Would you say that your clothes are the source of your productivity? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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