Filipinos are diligent workers and we love to dress up. But given social distancing policies to combat COVID-19, we’re working from home now. Gone are the days of suits and ties. Now, it’s all about Pambahay.
Pambahay is a Filipino word that simply means ‘house clothes’. It’s trading style and good looks for that favorite oversized shirt. To keep spirits up, our staff shared some pictures of what life is like under quarantine… in their Pambahay.
VMA Irene shows-off her humble set-up in her home. In her photo, she wears a loose, pink shirt with a matching headband. At first, she had reservations about being too comfortable because it might affect her work. In the end, she was surprised with her own productivity even in her pajamas.
Upon approaching VMAs Paul and Arachelle, it was pleasing to see two different people from different parts of Iloilo share sentiments about the pambahay when working. When asked if dressing up made any difference to his mood or productivity, Paul said, “I don’t dress myself up just to increase productivity and elevate my mood. When I feel comfortable, work simply becomes play.”Arachelle said that any comfortable outfit can help create the perfect mood to perform a task and be productive. She further adds that being comfortable also helps beat sleepiness and boredom.
Sometimes switching things up from casual to formal can be motivating when working from home. Holding up his french press cup, VMA Stephen shares that he switches between his scrubs and crisp shirts and neat shorts whenever possible. “I have learned from somebody that if you work from home at least you should wear something that will motivate you to work and avoid common temptations.” He then adds that wearing the right clothes helps him place his mental state into ‘work mode’. “If I wear too comfortable [pambahay] clothes I will just be tempted to slack off or be distracted. I have been a freelance home based worker for many years before I worked here so I know this from experience”.
Despite her busy schedule, VA Josie shines bright with a very feminine off-shoulder floral top and big smile. “Everytime I wear my favorite dress while working, it keeps me more energetic. I think it’s important that we are comfortable with what we wear and at the same time presentable.” In the conversation, she revealed an interesting quirk she developed while working from home: she felt more confident with her work when wearing her company ID. “Though it may sound funny but for me it reminds me of my goals, my priorities, my colleagues and I feel like I’m still working in an office-based set up.”
Whether one prefers to work in pajamas or in casual clothing, what’s important is that these clothes give off positive vibes. When one feels great about themselves, they are bound to be happy on what they do and are productive.
Kate is a Xilium writer and a former lifestyle and business assistant editor at a local Philippine newspaper. She holds a degree in pharmacy and literature, so her writing spans holistic and alternative health, medicine blog articles, and advertising and legal services. She enjoys blogging, poetry, and short fiction and has published in indie zines and anthologies.