May 15, 2020 / 1:37 PM / in 15 days

Pandemic teleworking is straining families: EU study

FILE PHOTO: A man works from home amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shoreline, Washington, U.S., March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The COVID-19 pandemic is placing unprecedented strain on families and working life, an EU study showed on Friday, with more than a fifth of people who now work at home in households with younger children struggling to concentrate on their jobs.

The study by EU agency Eurofound, which seeks to improve living and working conditions, found that over a third of people working in the 27-nation European Union had started teleworking as a result of the pandemic.

Of those, 26% live in households with children under 12 and a further 10% with children aged from 12 to 17. Of those living with younger children, 22% reported difficulties in concentrating on their jobs all or most of the time.

That compared with 5% of households with no children and 7% with older children.

Mary McCaughey, Eurofound head of unit for information and communication, said the health and economic implication of the pandemic were understandably dominating the thoughts of the public and policymakers.

“However, the toll this pandemic has taken on family life cannot be ignored. Parents are facing unprecedented challenges, particularly now that most cannot avail of childcare services, and many are required to supervise schooling at home,” she said.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Potter

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