6 Reasons A Uniform Helps With Your Productivity
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have even prescribed a uniform for themselves. Maybe you should, too
Uniforms are used less and less nowadays as the workplace tends to get more casual and work options become freer. But did you know that adhering to a uniform actually has a lot of benefits? Whether it’s a company-wide standardized uniform or a uniform you choose to adhere to yourself, here are six reasons to dress in a uniform now.
It’s worth taking note of that wearing a uniform is instilled early on in us, for some, as early as pre-school. It’s because a uniform instills a level of discipline on children, and encourages them to be responsible about following rules and standards.
A study by Chris Baumann and Hana Krskova published in the International Journal of Educational Management found that implementing school uniforms enhanced discipline and allowed for better learning among the students. As adults in the working world, we carry this discipline and openness to learning when we put on something akin to a uniform.
How much time do you spend each morning having to pick an outfit, trying it on, and then changing it if you don’t feel satisfied? Stressing over what you need to wear in the morning is one of the very first things that a uniform solves. It’s why Steve Jobs was known for his black turtleneck jumper and jeans, and Mark Zuckerberg for his daily gray shirt. These CEOs imposed a uniform on themselves to diminish the decision-making they have to do first thing in the morning, so they can free up their brain to think about more important tasks.
According to Dr. Karen Pine, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and a fashion psychologist, dressing appropriately is key to delivering a task well. This means that if you dress smartly for work, your mind clicks into place and tells you that you have to think and do as you dressed. She says, “It is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it's 'professional work attire' or 'relaxing weekend wear', so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”
In fact, a research team led by Abraham M. Rutchick, a psychologist at California State University, Northridge, found that wearing more formal clothes boosts abstract thinking for those who wear it. In their study, they concluded that dressing sharply helps a person do well in abstract tasks like brainstorming and concept-building.
Positivity and unity
Humans thrive and tend to be successful in groups. But just like how easily it is to create camaraderie in a group, it’s also easy to tear at this positive team attitude with envy and inequality. In contrast, a uniform is a great equalizer. It gives the feeling that everyone belongs in the same team, and that everyone contributes to and benefits from the success of the company equally. It eliminates the tendency to envy a co-worker who is dressing better than you or can afford more expensive clothes.
Dressing in a uniform also means that you have to dress in clothes that are comfortable for you. But comfort means more than a fluffy pair of sweater and baggy pants. Comfortable clothes are about fabrics that feel good on the skin, a perfect fit, and appropriateness for the situation and setting.
Image having to wear a three-piece suit when you have to commute to work or walk a certain distance from the bus drop-off to your office under the heat of the sun. That’s not something you’d want as a uniform. Putting on a comfortable uniform that can get you from your home to your office to your meetings without fuss lets you forget about what you’re wearing and concentrate more on the task on hand.
Work mode on and off
According to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, psychologist and author of You Are What You Wear, having a uniform also separates the line between “word mode” and “off work mode.” She says that changing out of your work clothes into something casual is actually a healthy post-work ritual that signals your brain that you’re not in “work mode” anymore. It also works in the same way that when you put your uniform on, it’s like prepping yourself to grind down and concentrate.
So, reward yourself and feel it when you need to leave work—and that means, really leave work—since digitally, we’re virtually always plugged into work anyway. This way, at least physically, you can detach yourself from work when the clock hits 6 p.m. and you finally change out of your uniform.
Featured photo from Unsplash.