Don’t Go Bananas in Pyjamas: The Impact of Working from Home on Mental Health

margabagus/Unsplash
margabagus/Unsplash

Been answering Zoom calls in your pyjamas?

You may want to think twice.

An Australian study has found that working from home while wearing pyjamas is a likely contributor to a decline in mental health.

The Study

Conducted on students, affiliates, and staff of medical institutes within Sydney, the study explored the impact on mental health and productivity when working from home of factors such as wearing pyjamas and having young children about.

Although many participants reported an increase in productivity when working from home, researchers found that over one third of respondents surveyed reported having poorer mental health when working from home.

More participants who wore pyjamas during the day at least once a week as they worked from home reported that their mental health had declined. The study suggested that changing outfits before starting work could help to mitigate the impact of working from home on mental health.

While telecommuting allows for more flexibility in one’s workday, the study suggested that remote working could lead to more self-imposed pressure to remain productive, resulting in poorer sleep quality.

Those with young children such as toddlers at home noted that they had decreased productivity levels, but no correlation was formed between the presence of young children and changes in mental health during the pandemic.

Closer to home

A study commissioned by The Straits Times last year found that eight out of 10 workers expressed a preference for flexible work arrangements, citing concerns over the safety of their workplaces as well as having to resume their daily commute. Seven in 10 respondents said that working from home had a positive effect on their mental health.

Telecommuting has become a norm since COVID-19, with many offices locally adopting a work from home arrangement. Earlier this year, the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that working from home would remain the default arrangement to lower the risk of transmission, following a joint review of workplace safety management measures.

For now, working from home is here to stay, and it’s more important than ever to incorporate habits that support better mental health and productivity.

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