Today we are working from home, from the road, or from family’s homes. Article after article has been written about how to work productively outside of our normal work environment. What they tend to leave out is that professionalism isn’t just for the cubicle; it extends to all matters of the office including working remotely.
That means being purposeful and professional every day. That includes being respectful, dressing for success, being punctual, having a positive attitude, keeping your working area clean, minding your manners, having a brain to mouth filter, avoiding gossip, not slacking off, etc. It’s amazing how quickly these simple behaviors go out the window the moment we aren’t in a physical office. Being in an office has constant accountability; working elsewhere doesn’t. Why worry about such things when working from home? It isn’t about mandating a conformist ideal to suppress your individuality. It’s about setting a standard of excellence for the job to be done, and also setting a better standard for yourself. It helps create a mindset that is essential for staying productive, which is necessary in a time full of distractions.
One of the most underrated and important ways to stay productive is dressing for the part. If normally a suit is required, wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants will not provide the same level of psychological support and professional accountability. For some roles the outfit is part of the job - that doesn’t change when working from home. It becomes part of how you get things done.
There is a reason that Major League Baseball is now placing cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands during games. It’s a simple yet effective solution to get players in the right mindset.
Don’t reinvent the wheel when you already have a full toolset. Habits we have learned to focus our minds allow us to not focus on the minutia and be productive. Simple, professional habits such as the clothes that you wear or the visual fans you use are tools that we’ve already learned and shouldn’t be abandoned in this time of flux. They should be relied upon as easy ways to help us achieve success.
A defining part of being a professional is presentation, not just in your clothing but also your attitude, your written word, and your ability to perform at a level that defines success for yourself. The suit or dress may not be essential for you and that’s for you to decide. Being a professional, however, is vital. It is not only for your success and future, but also for the company you represent. Even though it may not be face to face, your presence is viewed by others and it’s important to remember how blessed you are.
The opportunity for success is only limited by your willingness to put in the right amount of effort.