Working from home is great for the most part. It saves us travel time, money on some fronts and most importantly, it takes off the pressure to ‘look professional.’ You’d be lying if you said you haven’t taken a Zoom call with a hastily thrown on collared shirt only to have shorts or pyjamas at the bottom. We can just lounge at home, sit on our beds underneath comforters in our PJs with a hot cup of tea. It’s a seemingly great life.
But new scientific research suggests that this good life might not be great for our mental health. Published in the Medical Journal of Australia, scientists have found that more than a third of the respondents said that working from home resulted in poorer mental health. This involved studying the mental health and productivity of 169 staff and students across five Australian medical research institutes. More importantly, they found that those wearing pyjamas while working were reporting poorer mental health than the others.
59% of the participants who wore pyjamas during work hours said their mental health declined at least once a week. On the other hand, the mental health of 26% of the people who did not wear PJs during WFH remained unchanged.
This is a stunning revelation, considering most of us work from home in comfortable clothing, and pyjamas being the comfiest of them all. Thankfully, the study also found that wearing PJs does not reduce productivity — so the capitalists won’t ban them just yet.
If you’re wondering about where the pyjamas were worn, the most frequent workplace arrangements for those involved in the study were the kitchen/dining table with individual or shared home offices being the second and third most used spaces. Oddly, five respondents worked in their bathroom.
While the study can’t conclusively say that wearing pyjamas was the exact cause or consequence of worse mental health, this analysis states that the acceptance of the correlation between clothing and mental health is growing in the scientific community. Maybe it’s time we start adding a mental health caveat when picking out clothes apart from what just feels and looks good.