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. Two rounds of the e-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 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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The rise in telework during the pandemic has highlighted the blurring of lines between work and private life. It will be critical for governments and social partners to introduce ‘right to disconnect’ initiatives in order to prevent large segments of workers becoming at risk of physical and emotional exhaustion.
  • If teleworking is to continue across the EU, social partners must seek to include provisions for workers on the voluntary nature of telework or the suitability of specific tasks to teleworking in any legal frameworks or agreements. Clarification about how employers can contribute to expenses linked to working from home, as well as guarantees of equal pay and access to training for those working remotely will also be critical.

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.