Three out of four work from home

Second wave of UAntwerp’s Great Corona Study also enquired about mental well-being

On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of Belgians filled in the UAntwerp corona questionnaire again. An initial analysis provides interesting insights: even more people now work from home and the vast majority no longer shake hands or kiss. Many participants report that they have trouble sleeping and concentrating.

Tuesday saw the second wave of the Great Corona Study of the University of Antwerp. Between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., anyone could fill in the online questionnaire. The number of participants was yet again phenomenal. In the end, the counter stopped at 346,000 fully completed questionnaires. The questionnaire was partially completed by 90,000 people. Fewer than last week, but still an impressive number of participants.

‘We realise that this second wave required a greater effort from the participants’, Koen Pepermans (Faculty of Social Sciences) says. ‘We are very grateful for everyone’s time and help, whether they filled in the questionnaire completely or partially. Even with 346,000 participants, this questionnaire remains a unique citizen survey and provides an enormous amount of information. Of course, we also share the data with the scientific committee that advises the government in dealing with this corona crisis.’

Initial findings

The thorough analysis of such a mass questionnaire normally takes a considerable amount of time. In just a few hours, the scientists already filtered out a few findings from the huge amount of data:

-          93% did not shake hands or kiss non-household members after 17 March (tightening of the first set of measures). 21,000 respondents still do this: the younger the respondent, the more often it happens.

-          In the questionnaire of 17 March, 67% said they work from home. On 24 March, the share of people working from home rose to 75%. 20% of respondents still work on site, but indicate that proper measures have been introduced. Of those who work on site, 82% say the work can’t be done otherwise. 12% say they are not allowed to work from home by their manager.

-          On 24 March, the questionnaire also enquired about mental well-being. 32% said they had trouble concentrating; 30% have trouble sleeping; 42% feel more stressed than usual; and 42% of respondents indicate that they feel more depressed than usual.

-          To relax, 80% say they go for a walk. 34% cycle occasionally, 55% have a chat outside at a safe distance from their conversation partner.

-          On 17 March, 75% kept their children at home. This week 81% do so. Last week, 3% of parents called on grandparents for childcare. This week it is only 1%.

-          16% of participants made use of the open box in the questionnaire: they clearly used the questionnaire as an outlet to say something.

On Tuesday 31 March, the scientists are again counting on everyone’s participation. For the third wave, they are looking for ways to make the questionnaire more compact, so that it takes less time to fill in.