Many aspects of UK working culture remain infused with lockdown vogues and one of the less documented – until now – is pyjama couture.
According to data from global hiring giant Indeed – so who are we to quibble? – British workers are dressing down more than ever.
Indeed’s survey of over 1,000 workers and 500 employers in the UK found a third (33%) of Brits admit to working in their pyjamas. On average staff wear pyjamas while working 46 times a year with one in 12 workers wearing pyjamas every working day.
A survey less scientific
On receiving this news the Personnel Today office conducted its own rather unscientific survey. This revealed that half of employees weren’t sure whether they had any pyjamas (many were lying it is believed), while 30% thought they did have some but weren’t sure where they were. One person, on checking their diary, said they wore pyjamas 46 times a year precisely, and described the Indeed findings as “uncanny”.
At Personnel Today we have seen little sign of pyjamas becoming a status symbol”
Nevertheless, Indeed’s trendspotting numerics are backed by reports from the retail market. According to Statista, the UK’s nightwear market is experiencing a surge, with growth projected of almost 5% expected this year. Demand is particularly high for luxury silk pyjamas, “reflecting a growing trend towards indulgent and comfortable sleepwear options”.
Whether this is because silk feels great to sleep in or looks terrific on Zoom is unclear, but at Personnel Today we have seen little sign of pyjamas becoming a status symbol. When we venture out to the local high street at lunchtime it’s a different matter, but in the office, not so much.
The trend is further evidence of a split developing between workers and bosses over hybrid working, Indeed suggests, as nearly half the surveyed employers say since the pandemic, workers have taken casual work dress “too far”. And 29% say they have enforced a strict dress code or would “if they could”.
A lighthearted take on HR
Employers label pyjamas as the most inappropriate work appearance, but are not in favour of staff’s next favourite workwear option: jogging bottoms-leggings. Nearly half (44%) of employers say such items are inappropriate workwear, yet 56% of staff are donning them while working. Two in five employers say trainers are inappropriate attire but almost two-thirds of staff wear them while working.
But before Moss Bros or Charles Tyrwhitt consider diversifying into joggers and pyjamas there is also some good news for traditionalists used to laying the blame for everything on young people: Generation Z (18 to 24-year-olds) are keen to impress with 42% dressing in professional business attire in front of clients versus 15% of those aged over 35. Similarly, one in five Gen Z workers dress more formally than the dress code when meeting stakeholders. This figure steadily declines as the age of workers rises, reaching just 10% for those aged over 55.
Express your identity
The analysis appears to suggest that it is employers, not workers, who are most confused by the new laissez faire dress code. Almost 90% agreed that it was important for staff to express their identity through their style and clothing at work. Women, for example, were far less likely to wear makeup at home for video calls than in the office. What it was that pyjamas express about individual identity was not touched upon.
But times are undeniably changing. Tattoos have become more commonplace in the workplace, with two-thirds (67%) of employers saying employees having tattoos has become the norm. Over half (52%) of employers feel visible tattoos have become more acceptable throughout their career. Despite this, the analysis still identified some employers who said that tattoos may affect a hiring decision.
In light of this, Personnel Today suggests that us humble employees ought to ensure our pyjamas are voluminous enough to cover up our tattoos.