Friday 13 November 2020 1:14 pm

Working from home may put women at a disadvantage: Warwick University

UCL graduate in economics

Women who worked from home during the UK’s first lockdown reported a larger average decline in their productivity compared to men, according to a study published by Covid Economics. Women with children were worse affected than childless women.

Ben Etheridge, an economics professor at Warwick University, led the study. He said that governments should consider the adverse effects of home working on women when deciding on coronavirus restrictions.

“Women have gotten a worse deal out of the pandemic,“ he said.  “Mental health declines have been bigger for women, and the burden of childcare has disproportionately fallen on women.”

Etheridge pointed out that women were also, generally, less able to work from home.

“When you look at job types, women are, on average, more likely to work in jobs like hospitality. Men, on average, are more likely to work in jobs like IT and computing, which can more easily be done from home,” he explained.

As the UK is in the midst of a second lockdown period, women may, once again, struggle more than their male colleagues with homeworking.

Julia Waltham of Working Families, a charity, warned that workers who were less “visible” at work could be more likely to be made redundant.

“We are deeply concerned that parents, particularly women, will be harder hit in the economic downturn simply because they were required to provide full-time childcare,” she said.