We were more at home during the corona crisis than ever. Within three weeks of announcing the first lockdown, the university was able to offer education digitally. People all over the world learned to use Zoom and Teams. Home offices were installed and home suits purchased. For some people, this had major disadvantages, such as those who do not have a good, quiet place at home. For others, it had its advantages, e.g. in saving travelling time. What did being at home give us, and will we continue to work at home after the corona crisis?
More inequality within families
Prof. Dr. Renske Keizer
"I expect existing inequalities to be magnified in this period."
With primary schools and childcare facilities closed, more care tasks came into the home. Renske Keizer, professor of family sociology at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, investigates family functioning before and during the coronacrisis. Fathers say they care more, but this only applies to highly educated parents. And mothers do not say they care less. "What we know from the literature on the distribution of care responsibilities is most likely not to be extrapolated to this crisis," she says in an interview in Trouw. And also that the experiences of lower and higher educated parents will be very different in this period. Her COVID research into work-family conflicts concluded that work-family and family-work conflicts have increased, but that parents do not allow this to negatively influence their parenting practices.
Renske Keizer in the news
"I do think we are in the process of learning skills around working from home that we can continue to use."
Laura den Dulk, Professor of Public Administration at ESSB, is researching the work-life balance at three large public organisations. In the middle of her research, people were forced to sit at home because of lockdowns. A preliminary result is that inequality between groups of people becomes much more apparent. Where one group was satisfied with working at home, about one third of the people were much less satisfied than before the lockdown. Nevertheless, she suspects that partly working at home will become the norm. "In my research, people also say: I'm not going to travel halfway across the country for a meeting anymore, if we can video call. If people can decide for themselves what suits their situation and needs, this can lead to a better work-life balance."
Laura den Dulk in the news
"People started working fewer hours and also got less done in those hours."
People worked less than usual in the corona year, is one of the results of a study by Professor of Health Economics Job van Exel, from the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management. This decrease in work was greatest among singles without children and separate workplaces. And: women spent more extra time than men on unpaid work such as caring for children and home education.
Van Exel, together with Samare Huls, Merel van Hulsen and Charlotte Dieteren, also conducted research into compliance with the corona rules among the Dutch population. A significant part of the population voluntarily complied with advised rules, this was more true for people who consider the consequences of their behaviour for others and the future important. Ongoing studies at ESHPM concern for instance willingness to vaccinate, priority for vaccination and preferences for a corona passport.
Job van Exel in the news
"Employers should always have a home working protocol"
For a while, working from home seemed to be a temporary stopgap measure; it soon became clear that a large part of 2020 and even 2021 would be spent working from home. Ruben Houweling, professor of labour law at Erasmus School of Law, was inundated with labour law questions from all sides during the corona crisis. What are the rights and obligations of home workers? Are you entitled to a company computer? Can an employer call in at any time to see what you are doing? What obligations are there? Houweling: "There needs to be more legislation about working from home, and employers need to draw up working from home protocols. And most importantly: employers and employees must continue to talk to each other about expectations."
For those asking questions, he developed a webinar on the Temporary Emergency Measures for the Preservation of Employment (NOW). He also collaborated on an educational series called 'Casa Loco': to make online lectures more interesting and interactive for students working from home. In journals such as the Monthly Law Journal (Maandblad voor Vermogensrecht), he published articles on so-called 'Emergency Employment Law'.