Teleworking, unpaid care and mental health during Covid-19 


A survey has confirmed that the increase in unpaid care work and teleworking has hit women's work-life balance and mental health. Check out our infographics.

The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a surge in telework in many European countries. During 2020, the first year of the pandemic, telework increased drasticly.

Teleworking percentage by gender in the EU  

The highest share of the people working from home in the EU is in Finland (25.1%), Luxembourg (23.1%), Ireland (21.5%), Austria (18.1%) and the Netherlands (17.8%).

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Increased work-life balance issues for women - facts and figures

The higher flexibility and autonomy associated with telework often result in more work and longer working hours, which affects the work-life balance. During the pandemic teleworking posed many challenges for workers when it came to the organisation of working time, work–family balance, well-being and the physical work environment.

How women and men perceived work-life balance during the Covid-19 pandemic  

The pandemic affected many people, but the latest data shows that women were affected more than men. Data collected in February and March 2021 shows that 7.4% of women and 5.7% of men found it hard to concentrate on a job because of family responsibilities. The numbers are even higher for people teleworking full-time, with small children at home (27% women, 19% men). Work is not the only thing that has been affected. About 31% of women and 22% of men who are teleworking full-time, with small children at home, said that their work prevented them from giving the time they wanted to their family.

A new Eurobarometer survey highlights the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women. Four out of ten respondents (38%) say the pandemic has diminished women’s income, while affecting their work-life balance (44%) and the amount of time they allocate to paid work (21%).

Data shows unpaid labour still mostly on women’s shoulders

Women still do most of the unseen and unpaid care work, including childcare or taking care of older family members.

Average hours per week spent by women and men on unpaid domestic work during the Covid-19 pandemic  

On average women spent more hours (11.1 hours in February/March 2021) per week taking care of children or grandchildren than men (6.1 in in February/March 2021). Data also shows a difference in taking care of elderly or disabled relatives - 4.2 hours on average for women against spent 2.9 hours per week for men in February/March 2021. Women also do more housework and cooking - 14.4 hours per week versus men’s 9.4 hours per week in February/March 2021.

Women’s mental health more affected

The coronavirus pandemicis affecting women and men differently. According to a study requested by Parliament's women's rights committee, the pressure of balancing work and family life has taken a severe toll on women's wellbeing, with more women than men reporting suffering from anxiety because of Covid-19. Women's informal care role during the pandemic also had considerable effects on their mental health, with women reporting increased anxiety and worry about their family and wellbeing and about finances. Women with younger children have been disproportionately affected.

More facts and figures on gender equality