Living, working and COVID-19 data

28 Septiembre 2020

Eurofound’s 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. Two rounds of this unique survey have been carried out to date, allowing for comparison between the first round launched on 9 April, when most Member States were in lockdown, and the second round in July, when society and economies were slowly re-opening. 

The survey examined quality of life and quality of society during this difficult time, with questions ranging from life satisfaction, happiness and optimism, to health and levels of trust in institutions. Respondents were also asked about their work situation, their work–life balance and use of teleworking during the COVID-19 crisis. In the second round, people were also asked about job quality and health and safety at work, online schooling, use of online services, as well as the extent to which they had requested and availed of government support schemes during the pandemic. 

Explore the data for each round on quality of life and quality of society, work and teleworking, the financial situation and security of respondents, as well as the quality of public services during COVID-19. 

Data highlights

  • People across Europe have experienced an upturn in their situation overall post-lockdown, with increases in working hours and lower levels of job insecurity reported in July compared to April. However, large inequalities between specific groups across the EU have emerged.
  • Despite measures to support those who lost their job being introduced rapidly in many countries, well over half of unemployed respondents did not receive any official financial support since the outbreak of COVID-19, forcing many to rely heavily on informal support. The numbers of those reporting difficulties in making ends meet was highest among unemployed respondents and, in July, this was double that of working households.  
  • Job insecurity fell from 15% in April to 10% in July, however concerns remain widespread for respondents on fixed and short-term contracts with over 40% of men aged 34–49 on temporary contracts fearing they may lose their job in the next three months. Despite an overall increase in people’s working hours, a third of respondents still report working less than before the pandemic.  
  • Financial support measures introduced during the pandemic have proved effective, reducing financial hardship for the one in five respondents who received some form of support. The self-employed have benefited most from both income support and business measures and are significantly more positive about their financial situation in July than they were in April. 
  • Young people are emerging as some of lockdown’s biggest losers who, along with those out of work, report the lowest levels of well-being, despite some improvement since the onset of the pandemic. While life satisfaction and optimism increased since April, young people continue to feel excluded from society and remain at greatest risk of depression showing how restrictions during lockdown affect them more.
  • Women also continue to face a disproportionate impact and remain less optimistic about their future than men - this gap widening further between April and July. The pandemic has also affected the work–life balance of women more than men, with women impacted more in terms of reduced working hours and young women more likely to lose their job than men. In particular, the burden of care responsibilities increased during the pandemic for women. 
  • Trust in the EU increased in July while trust in national governments declined. The largest increase was in Italy and Spain who were hard hit by the pandemic. Trust in both national governments and the EU is significantly higher among EU citizens that received financial support during the pandemic.
  • The highest levels of institutional trust reported are in healthcare systems, compared to the other areas such as the media, national governments and the EU. At the same time, it is workers in the health sector who report feeling emotionally drained more often, confirming the high exposure of healthcare workers to difficult and emotionally demanding situations during the pandemic. 
  • Over three-quarters of EU employees in July want to continue working from home at least occasionally, even without COVID-19 restrictions. Most EU workers report a positive experience teleworking during the pandemic but very few wish to telework all the time, with the preferred option being a mix of teleworking and presence at the workplace.

Read the full report

The full report covering both rounds of the survey is now available.

Background and data collection

Suggested citation

Eurofound (2020), Living, working and COVID-19 dataset, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19data

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

Data and resources