Productivity of Working at Home and Time Allocation Between Paid Work, Unpaid Work and Leisure Activities During a Pandemic

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Abstract

Background and Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by governments to contain it have affected many aspects of the daily lives of citizens. This study aimed to describe changes in the productivity of paid work and time allocation to paid and unpaid work and leisure resulting from working at home during the pandemic. Methods: A sample of 851 people from the Netherlands who had paid work (≥ 24 h/week) and worked at least 4 hours per week extra at home because of lockdown measures completed a questionnaire during the first COVID-19 lockdown (April 2020). Respondents reported time spent on paid and unpaid work and leisure before and during the lockdown. Productivity was measured in terms of quantity and quality of paid work. Results: On average, respondents spent less time (14%) on paid work and productivity decreased 5.5%. Changes in productivity were associated with the age of children, net income and having a separate home office. Respondents spent more time on unpaid work (27%) and leisure (11%). Women spent more time on unpaid work in absolute but not in relative terms. People with a partner and with children spent more time on unpaid work and less time on leisure. Conclusions: Productivity of paid work decreased, and people reallocated time between paid and unpaid work and leisure during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Changes in time allocation and productivity differed across subgroups. If working at home becomes more common, future research should focus on the long-term impact on productivity and mental and physical health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-90
Number of pages14
JournalPharmacoEconomics
Volume40
Issue number1
Early online date2 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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