Working at Home: The PJ Debate

Last week I worked in my pyjamas for the first time in about 15 years. But according to the response my Facebook post received, my friends and colleagues who work from home do it almost daily. For me the experience was purely to save time. But now, having done it once, I can safely say it’s not for me.

I’ve been working from home on and off for about 20 years. Sure, I’ve spent some time in offices as a reporter/editor and PR writer, but the allure of working with people (and getting a regular paycheque) quickly faded. At home, I love the freedom to come and go and dress as I please, and I love being able to concentrate on my work without people popping in for a chat or calling me into yet another poorly planned meeting. 

Yet contrary to my pyjama-wearing friends, I’ve always sat at my desk showered and fully dressed, right down to shoes and a hint of makeup. I also make a point of getting out of the house before I start work. When my kids were small it was to do carpool (carting around other people’s sleepy, cranky kids was certainly one way to get revved up in the morning). Once they could take public transit, I would go for a run along the tree-lined path near my home, listening to my Sony AM-FM Walkman and breathing in the crisp early morning air. I’ve since graduated to an iPod Nano (though my tunes remain stuck in the ‘70s) but keep to an early morning get-up-and-go routine, thinking up some of my best opening paragraphs while running or spinning. Then I head home and shower, get dressed, prepare a bowl of cereal with berries and bananas, and sit down at my laptop ready to take on the day.

Then came last Friday, the day I worked in my pyjamas. Friday is the only day of the week that I have a full house and serve up dinner that is several home-made courses long. That night we were 10, but I also had four phone interviews to do and a story that was due by 3 p.m. That morning when I rolled out of bed at 5:45 a.m. (gosh, what time will I get up when I’m a senior?), I had two choices: a) head to the gym and then cook like mad before hitting the phone and computer, or b)get the cooking out of the way early and then work until my article was editor-ready. I really wanted the exercise but chose option B to ensure I’d meet my story deadline. I could always head to the gym afterwards, I thought.

So at 6 a.m. I started cooking. By 9 a.m. I had a healthy menu of vegetable soup, lime-and-tarragon chicken (yes, that was me barbecuing in PJs at 7 a.m.!) mushroom-and-red-pepper rice pilaf, green salad, and apple-raisin crisp looking pretty darn delicious. Then I sat at my desk, opened the laptop and started researching and writing. 

Four phone interviews, one article and six hours later, I was done. But I was also tired, agitated and feeling low. At first I thought it was from lack of sleep and too much computer time, but it felt different than other busy days gone by.  

And then it hit me. Besides not getting fresh air all day (the barbecuing didn’t count), I was still in my jammies. Everything about it felt wrong. I was weak, depressed and badly in need of a shower. So I quickly bathed, dressed, fixed my face and hustled to the store to buy some asparagus. And by the time my guests arrived I was back in tiptop shape, vowing never to don pyjamas to work again.

Why do you like working at home, and what do you wear to start your day? Tell me why PJs are your office attire of choice!

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