Working during COVID-19

Eurofound’s unique e-survey, Living, working and COVID-19, provides a snapshot of the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, with the aim of helping policymakers to bring about an equal recovery from the crisis. Three rounds of the e-survey have been carried out to date.

  • Round 1: Launched on 9 April 2020 when most Member States were in their first lockdown
  • Round 2: July 2020 when economies and societies were gradually reopening
  • Round 3: March 2021, almost a year on, as countries were still dealing with various levels of lockdown to curb the spread of new strains of the virus, while vaccination programmes were rolled out.

The data cover a range of topics including employment status, working hours, work–life balance, level of teleworking, job security, job quality and experiences of working from home. Compare the data for each round and explore by country, gender and age.

Key findings

  • Findings show that overall job loss in the EU continues to rise one year on with nearly 10% of those with work pre-pandemic now unemployed - an increase from 8% reported in summer 2020 and double the figure of spring 2020 (5%). 
  • The number of teleworkers in spring 2021 fell as more workers returned to the office. Despite this, the desire to telework has not waned as most EU workers expressed a preference to work from home several times per week in the long term. 
  • As workers continue to work more autonomously from home and managers invest in ways to facilitate this, the COVID-19 crisis can be an opportunity for many businesses to move towards win-win arrangements.   
  • While the pandemic is impacting on women across a range of areas, it is also placing a welcome spotlight on the structural gender inequalities that remain. Low wages and difficult working conditions in health and social care are increasingly under the microscope, as these workers are recognised for the critical value they provide.  

Background and data collection

Suggested citation

Eurofound (2020), Living, working and COVID-19 dataset, Dublin,

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In light of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, it should be noted that data published on the Eurofound website may include the 28 EU Member States, as the UK was covered in earlier research. This will be progressively amended to reflect the current composition of the 27 EU Member States.