Irish people are more likely than many of their European counterparts to be working from home, and believe they are working harder as a result, but a new survey also shows levels of trust in government and the EU remain high.
The Eurofound Living, working and Covid-19 survey tracks the experiences of citizens in its April and July editions and details the social, economic, labour market, and quality of life findings of a total of 87,477 responses across the EU.
Overall, it said: "While it shows a relative improvement in the situation for people in many parts of Europe with regards to working hours, job security, financial situation and levels of optimism between April and July, it also reveals an alarming cumulative social and economic impact of the pandemic on people’s lives that undermines social cohesion in Europe."
For example, Ireland was ranked in the middle tier of countries on the basis of 'Respondents who became unemployed since the onset of the pandemic, by country'. The report said working hours decreased a lot for respondents in southern European countries, except for Portugal.
But according to the report: "An increase in working hours was also common among respondents in Ireland and Belgium."
The proportion of respondents reporting they were working exclusively from home varies significantly across member states, from around one-fifth in Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary to more than 40% in France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and more than 50% in Belgium.
Ireland had the second-highest levels of working from home after Belgium and according to the report: "The proportion of employees reporting high quantitative demands is particularly large in Finland and Sweden, at over 40%. Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and Spain also display large shares, at over 35%."
Despite what appears to be a greater workload, more often than not dealt with at home, when it came to employees feeling emotionally drained by work, Ireland still ranked closer still closer to Denmark, with the lowest such figure, than Lithuania at the other end of the scale.
There was also some optimism evident in the Irish responses to other questions compared to EU neighbours. Irish respondents seemed to believe there was a receding likelihood of losing one’s job in the next three months (very likely and rather likely), by country (%) — receding likelihood compared to other countries, while "a significantly larger proportion of respondents in July say that their financial situation is now better [than in April]. The improvement is greatest in Ireland (+10%), Lithuania and Finland (both +5%)."
Likewise, 'Respondents reporting that their financial situation will get worse in three months' time', sees Ireland closer to countries such as Denmark and Luxemburg than countries at the other end of the scale where those fears are most pronounced, such as Croatia and Greece.
The report also shows Irish respondents are among the most optimistic when it comes to their financial situation being better in three months' time, while Ireland had an average ranking when it came to the WHO-5 mental well-being index and overall life satisfaction levels.
The report also shows Ireland had the fifth-highest level of Provision of PPE to employees required to wear it in their job in a selection of member states, by country, as outlined by respondents.
The results of the e-survey show that overall trust in the government was slightly lower in July than it was in April across the countries surveyed, but while Ireland's level dropped by half a percentage point from April, it was still fifth in terms of trust in the government.
According to the report: "There are large differences between Member States, with the proportion of respondents (strongly) agreeing with the statement ‘I am optimistic about my country’s future’ ranging from 18% in Croatia and Hungary to 64% in Denmark (followed at a distance by 51% of respondents in Ireland)."