Do Fuzzy Slippers Impact Productivity?

I’ve been working from home for longer than I want to remember. Things tend to blur from one day to the next, from one week to the other, from month-to-month, and dare I say it, between years. When you have a home office, the daily ritual of getting dressed for work can slip by the wayside.

Never mind those fancy shoes and tie, just slip on the fuzzy slippers.

While a commute from the kitchen to the spare room may seem like an impossible dream for most folks, it’s a reality for millions of home workers around the world.

I can’t remember the last time I had to go to the dry cleaners, but I have gone through a few pairs of fuzzy slippers over the years.

This, as it turns out, is not a good thing.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to get out of the fuzzy slippers and into a pair of real shoes.

The gut test of time has proven the point: I’m far more productive while wearing real shoes. With socks.

I have a theory, based on years of (highly) informal research …

The ritual of finding a pair of socks (even if they’re not matching), putting them on, and slipping on those shoes (rarely with laces, thank you), is a trigger that tells the mind a work day has begun.

Sitting at your desk while wearing a pair of fuzzy slippers sends an internal message that you’re not really at work and encourages a wandering mind.

I may avoid wearing a tie at every opportunity, but I’m happy to save the fuzzy slippers for those times when I’m truly not at work …

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  • SarahDR

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Dan. Your description of the Fuzzy Slipper Syndrome reminded me of my own Track-pant Conundrum. I spent three years running my family’s financial services brokerage out of my home and learned exactly the lesson you learned.

    We do sound different when wearing PJs than we do when “dressed”. So, I got dressed… not in a power-suit and heels, but definitely presentable casual clothes and loafers (no slippers!), as if a client could walk in at any time – and it actually felt better!

    The biggest thing of all, though, was the schedule. To work the way I would in a remote workplace, I had to create that atmosphere, or I’d be mentally “at home”, not at work. A client showing up at 9:30 in the morning, while I was still in my bathrobe, made me realize this. So, I separated my work and home spaces and stick to one or the other during the appropriate times. No going upstairs during the day. Stay out of the office in the evening and on weekends. Take official coffee breaks and a real lunch AWAY from the desk. Embarrassing, but I had to set my computer to chime alerts at the times when I was supposed to start work, take & finish morning break, take & finish lunch, take & finish afternoon break and, most importantly, finished the day. This made it a lot easier to just get through the day. Sure, there were slip-ups, but it was a LOT easier than the other way!

    • Dan Gray

      Great stuff, Sarah! No need to be embarrassed about the chimes. :)

      Getting out of the home office for lunch once in a while is a good way to break up the day …