Even after the end of the coronavirus pandemic, many employees have opted to continue working from home, and many others have embraced the hybrid working model.
Those that can manage their workload online have been out of office since COVID lockdowns, having jumped at the opportunity to work from home in their snuggly loungewear or pyjamas. However, experts advise against switching out work uniforms for loungewear when working from home.
In this post, we take a look at the future of working from home (WFH) more closely, and explore the impact that working in loungewear could be having on your mental health and productivity.
WFH trend expected to continue for the foreseeable future
Although the novelty of working from home has worn off for some, many employees are forecasted to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future. According to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, the number of employees that continue to work from home on a weekly basis has stabilized at about 35%-40%, as of 2023.
The demand for flexibility in how and where people work has been building for decades. Even before the Covid-19 crisis began, surveys found that up to 80% of employees wanted to work from home at least some of the time. Now that people have had a taste for home-working, this remote working trend is expected to continue.
Employers and managers have far less fear about work-from-home and hybrid work than before. In fact, companies have become more aware of the benefits of encouraging a more remote workforce in the aftermath of Covid-19. From sustainability to cost-cutting, there are numerous factors that, when combined with health and safety concerns, make remote working the most reasonable option for many corporations today.
During covid lockdowns, the world saw a dramatic reduction in traffic, congestion, and pollution, as well as huge cost-savings, including savings on commute. However, in the past, one of the major drawbacks surrounding remote working was the matter of trust. But now that many employers have been forced to give it a go, most have realized that it is the results that count, not how many people are sitting at their desk in the office.
So, if the work from home trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future, does that mean that pyjamas and loungewear will become a permanent way of life?
Well, these garments may well be comfortable, but health experts advise against working in loungewear, because not getting dressed in the morning may have a serious impact on people’s mental health and productivity.
Pyjamas may be stunting your productivity
Of course, many of us enjoyed the novelty of comfy clothes at the beginning of lockdown — and why not feel snug and not bother getting dressed for a few days? After all, many of us rarely get the opportunity to do so. At the beginning of lockdown, loungewear became more in-demand than ever, with Google search volumes rocketing around the term.
Google search volumes for the term ‘Loungewear’
However, now that many people have been working from home for a while, loungewear is more likely to be diminishing your productivity than improving it.
Charlotte Armitage, a media and business psychologist at YAFTA, explained the correlation between getting properly dressed and feeling productive:
“The key to ensuring a level of productivity in the home is to create a routine and structure that you force yourself to stick to... getting dressed into some designated 'working' clothes could be a great way to ensure you’re able to do your job as you normally would in the office.”
Charlotte also discusses the psychology of getting properly dressed in work attire, whether that be particular staff uniform or simply a smarter outfit than your typical loungewear:
“When the morning routine of getting changed into new clothes for working at home is practiced enough, psychologically you become conditioned to associate the changing of clothes with a change of mindset, psychological pace, and focus, therefore preparing you for the working day ahead.”
Getting dressed for work boosts your mental health
As well as boosting productivity, getting dressed and preparing for the day can have a transformative effect on your mental health. Having a routine to stick to is important to improve your mood, which is crucial if you want to feel in high spirits and ready for anything while working from home.
Staying in pyjamas or loungewear has negative connotations, and this practice can easily trick us into feeling lazy and unproductive — creating a vicious cycle!
Getting up, getting dressed, and practicing some grooming and self-care to improve your appearance can make a world of difference to your mental health and confidence. What’s more, when working from home, the morning routine is all about you and how you feel, rather than being a performative effort for the outside world — that’s got to be empowering!
Writing for Harper’s Bazaar, Jess Denham explained the negative effect that not getting ready for work had been having on her mental health:
“Every time I caught sight of myself in a mirror, I looked how I look when I’m off sick. I don’t look ugly without make-up on — I don’t think anybody does — but the face in the glass wasn’t the face I see in ‘normal’, happier times. I no longer felt like me.”
After this realization, Denham began to establish a morning routine, with a focus on making herself look and feel great.
The idea that what you wear closely correlates with how you feel isn’t new, but this psychological effect seems to have been forgotten. Fashion and workwear can impact your mental wellbeing and put you in a positive mindset for the day ahead.
When working from home, it’s important to feel confident in yourself and your abilities. This way, you’ll produce your best work and be your best self, even if no one else is around to see it!