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Scientists in pyjamas: characterising the working arrangements and productivity of Australian medical researchers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    • Abstract:
      Objective: To characterise the working arrangements of medical research scientists and support staff in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to evaluate factors (in particular: wearing pyjamas) that influence the self-assessed productivity and mental health of medical institute staff working from home.Design: Prospective cohort survey study, 30 April - 18 May 2020.Setting, Participants: Staff (scientists and non-scientists) and students at five medical research institutes in Sydney, New South Wales.Main Outcome Measures: Self-assessed overall and task-specific productivity, and mental health.Results: The proportions of non-scientists and scientists who wore pyjamas during the day were similar (3% v 11%; P = 0.31). Wearing pyjamas was not associated with differences in self-evaluated productivity, but was significantly associated with more frequent reporting of poorer mental health than non-pyjama wearers while working from home (59% v 26%; P < 0.001). Having children in the home were significantly associated with changes in productivity. Larger proportions of people with toddlers reported reduced overall productivity (63% v 32%; P = 0.008), and reduced productivity in writing manuscripts (50% v 17%; P = 0.023) and data analysis (63% v 23%; P = 0.002). People with primary school children more frequently reported reduced productivity in writing manuscripts (42% v 16%; P = 0.026) and generating new ideas (43% v 19%; P = 0.030). On a positive note, the presence of children in the home was not associated with changes in mental health during the pandemic. In contrast to established researchers, early career researchers frequently reported reduced productivity while working at home.Conclusions: Our findings are probably applicable to scientists in other countries. They may help improve work-from-home policies by removing the stigma associated with pyjama wearing during work and by providing support for working parents and early career researchers. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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