So the burning question of the day is, do you wear your PJ’s while you’re working from home, or do you wear work clothes? I used to slip into my pyjamas when I started out freelancing, but now I think it’s a bad idea. Read on to find out why.

When I first started out as a freelancer running my own video editing business in 2014, one of the first things I thought was a bonus of the freelancer life was no dress-code. I could wear jeans, comfy shirts and a hoodie if I wanted to, or if I knew I wouldn’t be going out today, I could even stay in my pyjama’s all day – what a luxury!

I soon realised there is a downside to the ‘do what you want’ philosophy as a freelancer. Even for creative people like me who aren’t generally big fans of structure and routine, having just a little in your freelancer life really helps in the long run.

If you’re new to working from home, the benefits can seem like a boon. No commuting! No dress codes! Why not work in my Pajama’s then?

What I’ve found over the past 6 years as a freelancer (with a few jobs in between to pay the bills, or to gear-up my business with new equipment purchases), is that one of the hardest things about working from home is switching off. You know, switching from Work to Not-Work mode.

This may seem a weird idea to some, particularly if you’ve never worked from home before so let me explain. When you’re employed and heading into work each day, you get a few things by default. You get some exercise unless you head straight for the car, but even then there’s going to be some kind of walking involved. Whether you travel by car or by public transport, that commute to work that you’re so-not-missing right now is also a buffer between your ‘work day’ and your ‘home time’.

When you’re working somewhere else, by default you get a division between your work and home life. You get a little time, either in your car or on public transport, to take your head ‘out’ of that work-space, and transition back into your social, family or home time.

Not so when you’re working from home.

This is one of the things I found the hardest to adjust to when I first started out running my own business. How to separate work and home, how to ‘switch off’ after a workday, and how not to be tempted to just keep on working (or thinking about work) in my downtime.

For freelancers, work never stops. Literally! There’s always something you should be doing, could be doing, need to do, or just want to try out. On top of that, there’s your advertising, social media, bookkeeping and website updates – a million things to do, all the time. Switching off can be hard!

Over the past six years since launching my business Sonic Eye, I’ve found that having triggers to draw a line between ‘home time’ and ‘work time’ really helps. Although as I said I’m not really a routine person, I’ve built a few of these triggers into my schedule. I’ve found that something as simple as doing yoga in the mornings before I start work, or taking a walk around the block at the end of the working day, really helps me to switch out from ‘work mode’ to ‘home mode’. It’s a way of drawing a line under the day.

So back to those PJ’s. One of my favourite triggers is to slip into my comfy clothes to get into a ‘relax’ mindset after work. I used to do this when I worked in a ‘regular’ job. If I knew I wasn’t going out anywhere, I’d slip into my pyjamas possibly with a glass of wine, and it was like a sigh of relief and a full-stop under the working day. A way of signalling to myself that there’s nowhere I need to go, nothing I need to do. Time to put that down now, time to flip on Netflix and get a glass of wine.

So instead of spending my working day in pyjama’s, instead I use them as one of the best ways to transition OUT of working mode and start to relax.

  • Thalia is the editor at Sonic Eye video and sound editing service.

Do you find yourself still working all hours, or thinking about work when you should be getting downtime? What triggers to you use to switch off after a work-from-home day?