I like Red magazine and most of the time it gets it right; there’s a good mixtures of features and reviews that interest me. In the May issue there was a great feature about flexible working. So why did it make some trite reference to creative freelance types “grateful for an excuse to get out of their pyjamas and away from the fridge”? And it’s not the only publication to make this ‘joke’. Time after time I see it in reference to freelancers, homeworkers, the self-employed – call us what you will.
It’s nonsense and, frankly, a bit offensive. Homeworkers are, by and large, not airy fairy types lazing around in their onesies pretending to have a career. Self-employment is on the up – over half a million people started their own business in 2013 and over 70% of these businesses are run from home. The majority of homeworkers are working hard to make a success of a business that they have chosen to develop through ambition or circumstance. Together we contribute £243 billion to the economy every year.
So what’s with this obsession with what we wear? Admittedly I am one of those people who picks up their iPhone and reads their emails before making their first coffee of the day, so if that’s your measure then I stand guilty as charged, but I did that when I was employed too. The truth of it is most of us – gasp! – get dressed for work. Like any professional we want to feel appropriately dressed for the day ahead. How you look prepares you mentally and drives confidence. Showering, drying your hair, dressing and having breakfast are our transitions into the day ahead as they are for anyone.
The way I dress as a homeworker is not a whole lot different to when I worked in an office: if I’ve got an important meeting or am speaking at an event I’ll wear a dress; if I’m on a shoot I’ll probably be in a skirt and boots or jeans and converse; if it’s the end of a long week and I’m doing ‘Friday finances’ I’ll be make-up free and in my leggings. My clients deserve better than having me dial in to a conference call in my Sunday slobs and my business partner really doesn’t need to be discussing our work plan on Skype while looking at me in my PJs!
So, if any journalist are reading this, then next time you write an important article about this burgeoning and important aspect of the UK economy can we drop the pyjamas?