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[en] Purpose – The authors track the well-being of individuals across five European countries during the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and relate their well-being to working from home. The authors also consider the role of pandemic-policy stringency in affecting well-being in Europe.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors have four waves of novel harmonised longitudinal data in France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Sweden, covering the period May–November 2020. Well-being is measured in five dimensions: life satisfaction, a worthwhile life, loneliness, depression and anxiety. A retrospective diary indicates whether the individual was working in each month since February 2020 and if so whether at home or not at home. Policy stringency is matched in per country at the daily level. The authors consider both cross- section and panel regressions and the mediating and moderating effects of control variables, including household variables and income.
Findings – Well-being among workers is lower for those who work from home, and those who are not working have the lowest well-being of all. The panel results are more mitigated, with switching into working at home yielding a small drop in anxiety. The panel and cross-section difference could reflect adaptation or the selection of certain types of individuals into working at home. Policy stringency is always negatively correlated with well-being. The authors find no mediation effects. The well-being penalty from working at home is larger for the older, the better-educated, those with young children and those with more crowded housing.
Originality/value – The harmonised cross-country panel data on individuals’ experiences during COVID-19 are novel. The authors relate working from home and policy stringency to multiple well-being measures. The authors emphasise the effect of working from home on not only the level of well-being but also its distribution.
FnR Project :
FNR14840950 - Covid-19, Mental Health, Resilience And Self-regulation, 2020 (01/06/2020-31/03/2021) - Claus Vögele