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Study Finds That What You Wear Changes The Way You Think Of Yourself

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Study Finds That What You Wear Changes The Way You Think Of Yourself

The old saying says that the clothes don’t make the man. But science might be able to prove that wisdom wrong.

According to a recent study, people who wore expensive clothes from recognizable brands tended to be more confident.  The researchers also found a correlation between smart dressers and higher levels of performance.

Of course, it was not the clothes themselves that resulted in a job well done. But the clothes on your back have a significant placebo effect that is hard to ignore.

In the study, researchers told participants that they were using a Nike golf putter when swinging their club. In reality, they were using a generic club. When the participants believed they were holding the same clubs that golf pros like Rory McIlroy uses, their performance improved by around 20%.

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Yet, the boost is not all physical. The researchers also gave a math quiz to some participants while the participants wore earplugs. The researchers told them that the earplugs came from 3M and were a high performance variety.

The participant performance on the math quiz improved by 20% when they thought their earplugs were high end.

Basically, this study proves that your lucky suit or lucky glove is not lucky per say. But these items might really have the boost on your performance that you believe they do. That’s good news

Frank Germann, an assistant professor at Notre Dame who worked on the study, said “when you think that you have this performance brand, you have higher-state self-esteem. As a result, you feel better and your self-confidence is elevated at a certain task. In turn, you’re less anxious, and because of that, you’re performing better.”

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That means, if you’re going on a work trip any time suit, it would be a good idea to pack your favorite suit, because you’ll get much more out of a conference or networking event if you do.

Great Marketing Performance

The products themselves don’t just have an effect on how you feel about yourself. In fact, the brand power alone can change the way you think and act.

In another study performed at Duke University and published in 2008, researchers found that people’s exposure to logos may cause people to change their behavior. The behavior changers are based on the traits they associate with the brand attached to the logo.

In the study, participants were asked to complete a task after seeing to an Apple logo or an IBM logo. Those who saw the Apple logo completed the task with a creative flair compared to those exposed to the IBM logo.

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Apple ran a now infamous “Think Differently” marketing campaign in the late 1990s. It featured advertisements that included prominent creative figures like Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Jim Henson and John Lennon.

It helped prominently position Apple against established companies and made IBM look like a dinosaur.

The “Think Differently” campaign would go on to cause viewers to associate Apple with genius and creativity.

Similarly, participants exposed to the Disney Channel television logo behaved more honestly than those who viewed the E! Entertainment channel logo.

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The innocence of Mickey Mouse likely had a strong impact on those who saw the logo. This was especially true in comparison to the channel best known for hosting the Kardashian clan.

The strange thing about the change in these behaviors was that the change was automatic. People weren’t thinking about them and they weren’t shown the emotive advertisements. They reacted to the images in real time and adjusted themselves according to their perceptions of the brand.

A Real Placebo Effect

Through these studies, science is telling people what they already know. A great outfit or product is like social armor. The right item can make you feel empowered, confident, humble, smart or strong. The closer your attachment is to it, the stronger your feelings will be.

So don’t deny yourself the flashy tie or Jimmy Choo heels. If you associate them with positivity and success, these items may help bring it to you in spades.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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