Last year, working from home felt like a hot trend to talk about, but not necessarily a reality for most of the workforce. Now, researchers at Stanford University are estimating that approximately 42% of our workforce are working from home full time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While working from home brings a lot of flexibility, and health benefits, it brings a new kind of mental exhaustion that can take a toll. It’s so easy to roll out of bed, and forget that getting intentionally dressed and putting ourselves together for work may have played a role in our overall mental health.
With constant facetime phone calls and Zoom meetings, we are looking at our own faces and appearance more than ever. It’s definitely a little weird! With so many people (looking at you Rockstar working parents!) stretched thin with simultaneous, often conflicting responsibilities, we may forget to even think about looking professional for that meeting we have in 5 minutes. What defines “professional” in the work from home world is luckily adapting with the times, but we thought we would share some easy tips to alleviate the stress of always being on screen and help bring a little confidence to your day.
- Keep it simple– You
do not owe anyone a full face of makeup and a flawless hairdo. The goal is to look clean and not distract from your message when communicating or presenting to your team. I like to keep my favorite lip tint, hair ties, and a little bit of concealer at my desk for a quick two-minute makeover. I even have mint chewing gum because it makes me feel prepared for conversation, even though no one can smell my breath! Think about the little things that used to make you feel great when you were rushing out the door, and keep them in your desk organizer for when you need them.
- Consider a capsule wardrobe- It’s a well-known fact that Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day for over a decade; a black turtleneck, Levi jeans, and his favorite New Balance sneakers. The logic behind it is that the less mental energy you spend on deciding and picking an outfit, the more you can focus on the decisions that matter. The Capsule Wardrobe concept is a little more forgiving than one outfit; it encourages you to curate a select number of pieces as your go-to work wardrobe that you can feel great wearing Monday through Friday. It can take a little time and experimentation to come up with your top 5 outfits, but once you have it figured out, you will be amazed at the benefits.
- Lights! Lights! Lights! – Never underestimate the power of great lighting. Selfie lights and ring lights can work wonders for tired eyes. Makeup or not, sleep or not, with great lighting you are good to go.
- Take some me (on camera) time– Before the Zoom meeting starts, spend some time on camera with yourself. Make sure you have the screen angle you like, that you didn’t spill coffee anywhere obvious, and try out some new hand gestures to help amplify your communication. Most of what we perceive in communication is non-verbal, so things that seem small can make a huge impact in the digital space.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that what really matters is effective communication, and that you feel comfortable and confident with yourself. Confidence has an element of muscle memory, and for many of us, on screen communication is an entirely new adjustment. By making eye contact, being kind to yourself, and taking small steps to fit self-care into your meeting preparation, you will be on your way to a more relaxing work day.