Third of those working from home during pandemic wore pyjamas in meetings — Evening Standard

. 2 min read

Almost a third of people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic wore pyjamas during virtual meetings, while one in 10 did not even put on a pair of trousers, a YouGov poll has found.

The research – commissioned by transcription app Otter.ai – suggests that around 42 per cent of home workers have experienced “Zoom fatigue” since the pandemic began, though only 14 per cent say they want to return to the office full-time when it is safe.

One in five say they never want to go back.

It comes 12 months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the UK an unprecedented lockdown would commence to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

A week earlier, the public was asked to start working from home where possible.

The move has led businesses up and down the country to evaluate the need for office space while employees reap the financial and time savings from no longer commuting, but it has come at the cost of isolation, particularly for those with smaller dwellings.

Of the 2,027 remote workers surveyed – which includes 1,012 from the UK – almost half (45 per cent) would prefer a balance, going into the office between one and three days per week.

The number one reason given for continuing to work from home at least part-time was avoiding the commute (51 per cent), followed by gaining flexible hours (34 per cent).

Two in 10 said they want to carry on working remotely because they get more sleep and 15 per cent say they do not want to wear formal clothes.

However, workplace chatter is the most missed aspect of office life (43 per cent), while poorer productivity is cited as the greatest impact by those who have suffered fatigue from video calls on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

A third (31 per cent) admitted to having private conversations with friends in the same virtual meeting, as well as wearing pyjamas (30 per cent).

A quarter (23 per cent) also confessed to shopping online during a call and 15 per cent said they had played computer games.

“Our survey shows that work will never be the same as before the pandemic,” said Sam Liang, chief executive and founder of Otter.ai.

“Employees now demand a flexible and hybrid work set-up that meets the new work-life balance and changing attitudes created by working from home for such a long period.

“Zoom fatigue is real and meetings need to be adapted to suit our new working environment, whether that is fundamentally changing the structure of meetings or seeing employees engage with collaboration apps that help with meeting notes and allow the sharing of conversations in real time.”

Earlier this month, chancellor Rishi Sunak said office workers will not be returning to work in “exactly the same way”.

Speaking to Politico, Mr Sunak said this "existing trend" was likely irreversible, having been "accelerated" by repeated lockdowns.

Asked what the “new normal” would look like after the lockdown is lifted in the summer, he said: “Like the PM, I think both of us are in the camp of believing that people being physically together in workplaces is a good and positive thing.

“I think the spontaneity that comes from that, the camaraderie, the team building, I think it’s all really important.

“And I’ve missed that over the past year, so I look forward to that coming back. Is it going to come back in exactly the same way? Probably not.”