Living, working and COVID-19: First findings – April 2020

06 May 2020
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Key findings

  • Countries hardest hit by the pandemic see most significant impact on their well-being. Results from some countries are particularly striking, with life satisfaction in France now at its lowest compared to surveys carried out before the crisis.
  • Over half of EU respondents are concerned about their future as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, with only 45% feeling optimistic. In contrast to surveys carried out before the pandemic, countries like France, Belgium, Italy and Greece are seeing optimism drop below the EU average.
  • People across the EU are reporting dramatically low levels of trust in the EU and in their national governments, particularly in several traditionally pro-EU Member States such as France, Italy and Spain, raising fundamental questions about perceived EU action during the crisis.
  • More than one-quarter of respondents across the EU at this stage report losing their job either temporarily (23%) or permanently (5%), with young men most affected. Half of those in work are also seeing their working hours reduced, especially in Romania, Italy, France, Cyprus and Greece. The Nordic countries have reported fewest reductions in working time.
  • Almost 40% of people in Europe report their financial situation as worse than before the pandemic – double the numbers reported in surveys before the crisis. Close to half are indicating their households cannot make ends meet and over half report they cannot maintain their standard of living for more than three months without an income. The situation is even more dramatic for three-quarters of those unemployed who cannot get by for more than three months with 82% reporting their household has difficulty making ends meet.


In the space of just a few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has radically transformed the lives of people around the globe. Apart from the devastating health consequences on people directly affected by the virus, the COVID-19 pandemic has had major implications for the way people live and work, affecting their physical and mental well-being in a profound way. To capture the immediate economic and social effects of this crisis, Eurofound launched a large-scale online survey across the European Union and beyond on 9 April. Entitled Living, working and COVID-19, the aim of the survey is to investigate the impact on well-being, work and telework and on the financial situation of people living in Europe. It includes a range of questions relevant to people across various age groups and life situations. Most of the questions are based on Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) and European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), while other questions are new or were adapted from other sources, such as the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC).

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    Living, working and COVID-19: First findings – April 2020


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    Cite this publication as: 
    Eurofound (2020), Living, working and COVID-19: First findings – April 2020, Dublin. 
  • Data

    List of figures:

    Figure 1: Respondents’ life satisfaction by country
    Figure 2: Respondents’ optimism about their future by country (%)
    Figure 3: WHO-5 mental well-being index by country
    Figure 4: Trust in the European Union by country
    Figure 5: Trust in the healthcare system by country
    Figure 6: Changes in working time during the COVID-19 pandemic by country (%)
    Figure 7: Proportion of workers who started teleworking as a result of COVID-19 by country (%)
    Figure 8: Uptake of telework and decrease in working time by country (%)
    Figure 9: Work–life conflict dimensions, by gender, EU27 (%)
    Figure 10: Work–life conflict dimensions, by type of household, EU27 (%)  
    Figure 11: Respondents’ financial situation three months ago and in three months’ time by country* (%)
    Figure 12: Proportion of respondents with no savings or who can only maintain current living standards without income for less than three months by employment status, EU27 (%)
    Figure 13: Proportion of respondents with financial insecurities, EU27 (%)
    Figure 14: Difficulties making ends meet by employment status, EU27 (%)
    Figure 15: Proportion of respondents reporting household arrears, by employment status, EU27 (%)
    Figure 16: Risk of losing home, EU27 (%)

  • Final report

    You can sign up to receive a copy of the final e-survey analysis Living, working and COVID-19 in September 2020.

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