How usual is it to work from home in Europe?

The social distancing measures that were introduced as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to work from home. In 2020, 12.3 % of employed people aged 15-64 in the EU usually worked from home, although this share had remained constant at around 5 % over the past decade.

In previous years, the share of self-employed persons who reported that they usually work from home has been consistently higher than the share of employees in the same situation. However, the gap became smaller in 2020 as the share of employees who usually work from home increased from 3.2 % in 2019 to 10.8 %, while the share for the self-employed increased to a smaller extent: from 19.4 % in 2019 to 22.0 % in 2020.

Older persons work from home more often than younger ones

The share of those working from home increases with age. In the EU, just 1.8 % of 15-24 year-olds usually worked from home in 2018, compared to 5.0 % among 25-49 year-olds and 6.4 % among 50-64 year-olds. The highest share of 15-24 year-olds who usually worked from home was recorded in Luxembourg (8.7 %). The next highest Member State was Estonia (5.2 %).

For the other age categories, the Netherlands recorded the highest shares of those usually working from home (14.9 % among 25-49 year-olds and 17.3 % among 50-64 year-olds). They were followed by Finland (14.0 % among 25-49 year-olds and 15.6 % among 50-64 year-olds).

For more information:

France: 2020 data not available. As a result, the EU aggregate has been estimated.

The data in this article are based on the annual survey on use of ICT in households and by individuals; the full data from the survey is available here. Further methodological information related to the survey can be found here.

The results above refer to individuals’ experiences during the last 3 months prior to the survey, i.e. the first quarter of 2020. Hence, the reference period refers mainly to the situation before the COVID-19 pandemic started. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the fieldwork had to be postponed or extended, and the timing of this 3-month reference period varies across countries.