As we all collectively adjust to the state of the world, our regular routines and daily rituals have gone out the window. Working from home has gone from being a scheduling luxury to a necessity for many workers across a huge range of industries, and at Robe we’ve experienced first-hand the temptations that entice us when our office and relaxation spaces collide (just one more Ozark episode over lunch, okay…).
There are some professions that have already been scaffolded around a work from home model, and our small team at Robe has enjoyed flexible working conditions since… well, the start. That’s why we wanted to share some tips about what’s keeping us inspired and productive through these turbulent times from our team and the ladies who we regularly collaborate with. The common thread amongst everyone? Getting dressed.
We all believe that getting dressed in the morning injects a huge boost of motivation to your day. While drawing an important distinction between the time to relax and time to work, it also is an opportunity to play with your wardrobe and find outfits that are both comfortable and professional. Keep scrolling to see what our founder Bec, stylists Kate and Jenni, and marketing gurus Christie and Isobel are wearing and doing throughout the week.
Bec, Founder and Director at Robe
Weirdly, isolation hasn’t changed my routine too much. (My husband) Ben is still working so if I want to exercise with him in the morning, then I have to get up with him at 5.30am. It’s a bit brutal as the days in iso are very very long but it is a lovely way to start the day. And it’s outside – bonus! After breakfast I get the kids to exercise while I do some cleaning and tidying and then the day just kind of happens. We are on school holidays at the moment so wouldn’t usually have a routine, we swim in the pool, watch movies, play board games and go for evening walks – much like we would if we were at the beach (where I REALLY wish I was!). It will all be a bit more routined next week when we start home based school for 5 weeks!
I have, to be honest, spent the first week in iso not bothering to get out of either my PJs or my exercise gear. I didn’t put any make up on and I just couldn’t really see the point of even really bothering to make the bed. But not long in I realised that wasn’t making me feel very good about myself. I like wearing nice clothes and a bit of eye make up – not (as it turns out) because I care what I look like in front of other people – but because I like looking and then consequently feeling a certain way. So now I am taking this time to wear pieces that are comfortable and floaty (luckily I make quite a lot of those) and to try to wear them in a different way. I am experimenting if you like with our current Robes (and some other pieces in my wardrobe) to see how they work in this environment and how we can make them better.
I believe that exercise and meditation in the morning are key. That makes me feel like I have achieved something and gets the endorphins going so I feel good. I am not sure my days are always ‘productive’ in my usual sense but I am trying not to get all Type A about it and be alright with that. I think if I stay relaxed and happy all day and keep the kids relaxed and happy and settled then that’s the new productive for me.
I think everybody should be watching Unorthodox on Netflix. It is a real eye opener and such an interesting comment on the orthodox Jewish faith. I have also just finished reading Tim Winton’s new book ‘The Shepherd’s Hut’. Not a light read but it’s very good. I am an avid podcast listener and am really enjoying The Love Club and Shameless at the moment.
Bec wears The Nikki in Candy Floss (yet to be released). Shop it in Midnight.
Kate Hammond, Stylist
My structure and timeframes have basically gone out of the window during isolation. I know what I’d like to achieve during a day, but having a timeframe to do it by is basically non-existent. I like this but I also don’t like it.
I am a big believer that clothes have the power to help change your mood and quite often your mindset. I have my days where activewear is all I need but other days I need to feel a little extra feminine or ‘put together’ so I’ll normally source my wardrobe for a bit of colour. I don’t actually own a lot of black pieces as it just doesn’t lift my mood. I have been known to change outfits (a lot!) if I’m just not ‘vibing’ with it that day!
To ensure a productive day, I’ve started writing shorter ‘to-do’ lists in a notebook ( I know right so ‘old school’) but I find if I have a half a dozen tasks I want to achieve and I get them out of my head, I feel I have something tangible to action. I also love seeing things ticked off at the end of a day.
I have just finished watching ‘Self Made' inspired by Madam C.J. Walker on Netflix and loved it - I think everybody should see it. It's about a black female entrepreneur who wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m also currently watching ‘Ozark’ and loving it. For podcasts, I love listening to ‘The Sip + Soul Podcast’ by Danielle Knight and also 'The Love Club' by Kate Robinson.
Kate wears The Jane in English Rose and The Camille (yet to be released).
Christie, Brand Manager at Robe
My routine has changed dramatically since isolation, my social interaction has disappeared. I am one of the extroverts people have been checking in on virtually, thank goodness for virtual catch ups. A big part of who I am and what I do involves being surround by people and over the last two weeks I have been finding the space in which I feel comfortable to let go of pressure and to slow down, I am taking time to delve into my curiosity. Once I found that space my new routine has become refreshing for me, my family and my clients.
When getting dressed in the morning, I think it's important to feel fresh, comfortable and empowered. I lose motivation quickly when working from home, I am looking to my passions to keep me focused and inspired and getting dressed is that for me. My choices are all about complementing the task at hand. This virus has presented a real moment of self reflection for me when it comes to the shape of my day and all the different ways I exist in my home and in what outfit looks I put together.
My top tip for making the most of a WFH day is to wake up an hour earlier and challenge your day. I get lost in my work at the moment as meaningful distractions, like teams or colleagues, are limited. Waking up early means I do something for me and I make sure that that something leaves me feeling confident and inspired.
I think everybody should be reading The Wife And The Widow by Christian White, and I am about to open pages to The Silent Patient, both are can’t-put-down kind of books filled with twists and plots that will surprise and let your mind escape into a story for a while. I am also falling in love with new podcast content, specifically from other parts of the word on topics I would not normally choose to listen to to gain a perspective on where others at.
Christie wears The Nikki in Blue Streak.
Jenni Sellan, Stylist
Being in isolation has required a complete overhaul of my routine based on the fact that the kids are learning from home. Ava is 14 so her bedroom has become a virtual classroom. Given she is in high school, there hasn’t been a huge amount of disruption there, however Xander is only 7 so he is much less independent when it comes to his learning. The real challenge has been discovering the balance. My business has significantly slowed down, so the one advantage of that is I can be more present at home in this current situation as I am working to my own agenda and not having to report back to an employer. With the return to school for Term 2, I have created a routine that basically looks like me getting up at around 5.30am to do 2- 3 hours of my own work and then from 8.30am I will be available for Xander and Ava. Prior to the Easter break I was trying to juggle working whilst the kids were doing their thing, but it just wasn’t working. I am not sure I have had Xander call out my name so many times in one day before, and that’s saying something! The constant interruption was just resulting in far too much frustration so going forward into this next phase, my decision has been to carve out specific time for me earlier in the morning and again late at night when the babes are sleeping, if required.
I have been working full time in my business for 5 years now and from the very beginning I have always ensured that I get up and get dressed as I would have done when working in the corporate space. I believe that it plays a huge part in getting your mind set and ready for a productive work day. It doesn’t mean strutting around the house in high heels, but it also doesn’t mean wearing my active wear. When I think active wear I think exercise, so wearing what I would normally wear, which luckily for me often consists of a pair of jeans and the 'great white tee' or shirt, is really important for my state of mind. I also adhere to the ‘3 item rule’ when it comes to my make-up which at the moment consists of mascara, tinted moisturiser and a nude / neutral lip gloss. It just helps me get my head in the game!
To ensure a productive day, I always spend about 30-40 minutes in meditation early in the morning. I religiously eat a good breakfast, and I create a list of things that I want/need to get done - they are especially important at the moment as they keep my mind on track. I used to exercise in the morning, however I have switched that out to about 4.30pm in the afternoon. I find by that time of day I am in desperate need of space and fresh air - going for a run helps me to unwind and hit the refresh button ready to do it all over again!
I don’t necessarily have one particular series that I would say everyone needs to watch and generally speaking, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I have started to watch The Good Fight – who doesn’t love a good legal drama. I have also watched some really random things - Unorthodox was a four-part series that I found fascinating about the New York Hasidic community. Mostly though if I’m investing time in Television, I like to keep it light, I love Grace and Frankie and Schitt's Creek for a good laugh! I’m on the hunt for a new book right now too though, so any recommendations are appreciated! The last one I read was the 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz' by Heather Morris.
Jenni wears The Bridget in Snow.
Isobel Young, Marketing and PR Assistant at Robe
I'd like to think I'm one of those trendsetters who worked from home before it was cool, but really I'm just lucky to have an amazing boss who's encouraged it since I started! I used to go into the office once or twice a week to catch up with Bec and Christie, so the main change is that I'm no longer commuting across town regularly and instead allowing myself to sleep in until around 7.30am most days (I'm a total night owl, and constantly trying to find a balance in my daily routine!).
Like many others, I quickly found that working from home in my pyjamas does not lead to a productive day. While I don't get dressed up to the nines in corporate gear, I will always make sure to change into something that I would wear on a normal work day in the studio - usually activewear, or my favourite jeans with a loose and comfy top (The Bridget is on repeat at the moment!). For a real mood booster, I'll put on the brightest dress in my wardrobe and swan around feeling glamorous.
As I work part-time, I'm fortunate have some flexibility in my daily schedule. I know that I do my best work in the afternoon, so if I don't have any pressing tasks I usually take my mornings super slow. I like to read my book as I eat breakfast and have my coffee, then shower and get dressed before sitting down at my computer. In addition to this little routine, I give myself regular breaks (even if it is just to hang out the washing!) and always write a daily to-do list! I find that having all my tasks written out helps me manage my time and maintain motivation when I get to tick them off throughout the day. My top tip? Always start with something small and easily achievable so you can get the juices flowing.
My latest obsession is the series of Open Door videos by Architectural Digest on Youtube. They're super fun videos where celebrities show you through their homes, and it's just fascinating - being short and sharp, I find they're a great way to take a little mental break throughout the day. I also just finished reading Three Women by Lisa Taddeo - I know I'm a bit late to the party on this one, and I haven't quite found the words to articulate exactly how I feel about as it was really confronting and heartbreakingly honest, but I think it's an essential read for the modern woman.
Isobel wears The Bridget in Blue Streak.
We feel so lucky that we’re able to continue operating pretty much as normal and remain positive throughout COVID-19 by providing you with an inspirational and relaxing space on the internet through the Robe Journal. If there’s a topic that you’d like us to cover, or if you have a red-hot Netflix recommendation, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you x