A third of people work in their pjs, are you one of them?

A recent survey conducted by Indeed has highlighted a significant shift in work attire among British employees.

The survey, which included over 1,000 workers and 500 employers in the UK, found that a significant number of British workers (33%) have embraced a more relaxed dress code, often working in their pyjamas. On average, employees wear pyjamas 46 times a year, with about 8% doing so daily.

Interestingly, nearly half of the employers surveyed expressed concerns that post-pandemic, employees have taken the casual work dress code to an extreme. Approximately 29% have implemented or considered enforcing a strict dress code in response.

Employers have identified pyjamas as the least appropriate work attire, followed by unwashed or messy hair. There is a notable discrepancy between employer expectations and employee practices, with 44% of employers deeming jogging bottoms or leggings unsuitable, yet 56% of workers wearing them. Similarly, while two in five employers find trainers inappropriate, almost two-thirds of employees wear them.

The survey reveals generational differences in work attire preferences. Generation Z (ages 18-24) appears more inclined to dress formally, with 42% wearing professional business attire, like suits, in client meetings, compared to only 15% of those over 35. Furthermore, one in five Gen Z workers often dress more formally than required in stakeholder meetings, a tendency that declines with age.

In office settings, 22% of Gen Z workers choose professional clothing, compared to 11% of 25 to 34-year-olds and only 9% of those over 35. When around colleagues, 18% of Gen Z dress more formally than the dress code, a contrast to the mere 6% of those over 55 who do the same.

Employers note a trend towards more formal attire in client and stakeholder meetings since the pandemic, but a less formal approach when interacting with colleagues. Over half of the workers (53%) admit to wearing casual attire on their lower half while opting for smarter options on top during video calls. Additionally, 60% of female employees forego makeup while working from home.

Employers demonstrate a willingness to adapt, with 86% acknowledging the importance of staff expressing their identity through clothing. The majority (75%) agree that casual dressing at work has become more accepted over their careers, with trainers (52%), jeans (52%), and facial piercings (48%) gaining acceptance.

Tattoos are increasingly becoming a norm in workplaces, with 67% of employers viewing employee tattoos as commonplace. Over half (52%) believe visible tattoos have become more acceptable, and 66% state that tattoos are unlikely to influence hiring decisions. However, a lower percentage of workers and jobseekers share this view, suggesting some perceived bias.

Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at Indeed, comments on these findings: “Workplace norms have evolved since the pandemic, influencing how people present themselves. It’s heartening to see most employers now value staff self-expression. Allowing workers to dress freely promotes a sense of belonging, attracts diverse talent, and enhances productivity, as three-quarters of staff report greater comfort and productivity when they can express their identity through dress.

“However, it’s evident that employers believe there should be limits to how casual attire can be. Employees should align with their organisation’s culture, taking cues from Gen Z, who demonstrate a readiness to dress smartly for clients and colleagues.”