UUers in survey: corona crisis is heavy burden, studying from home far from ideal

Of the 186 UU students who completed the survey, a little more than half say the corona measures are affecting them ‘a lot’ to ‘a great deal’. Of the 163 UU employees who responded, around one in three say they’re affected greatly by the measures.

The UU students feel sombre (68 percent), less energetic (60 percent), or more lonely (61 percent). UU employees also say they experience similar mental issues, but not as much as students: the percentages of employees hover around 30 to 40 percent.

Freedom of movement
The survey, conducted on behalf of the editorial boards of the news media of nine universities and universities of applied sciences, saw a total of around 1,200 students and 870 employees respond. The intention was to gain insight into the mental wellbeing of these groups in times of corona, and into the impact of studying and working from home.

The number of respondents in the study (pdf in Dutch, ed.), conducted by research and consultancy agency Newcom, is too small to make any definitive, statistically reliable statements. Still, it does paint a picture.

Students, for instance, say they’re mainly worried about their own freedom of movement, while employees mainly fear the economic consequences and the consequences for the elderly and vulnerable. Another remarkable point is that only around a quarter of students say they follow all the corona measures, while around half of employees do.

Unable to concentrate from home
The survey’s results also show that students are rather dissatisfied with the current situation in which they can’t study in lecture halls and libraries. They rate studying from home a 4.7 out of 10. The UU students rate this an average of 4.9.

Of the UU students, 43 percent say they’re also studying ‘less’ to ‘a lot less’; nationally, this figure is 51 percent. Concentrating on the material, students say, is especially difficult to do in your room.

Still, most students are happy with the way their university or university of applied sciences has adapted to the changing situation. Only a small minority is dissatisfied with this. UU students are even more appreciative than students at other institutions.

Nearly seven out of ten UU students who responded to the survey feel the university has handled the new circumstances well (47 percent) to very well (22 percent). Moreover, these UU students agree more vehemently than students at other universities and universities of applied sciences to statements such as ‘I study from home just fine’, ‘I receive good information and support from my teachers’, and ‘It’s clear to me what’s being asked of me in terms of homework’.

Working from home after the corona crisis
Nearly nine out of ten employees are now working from home. Employees rate working remotely with a 6.6 out of 10, about the same as the national average.

Four out of ten employees indicate they’re not able to concentrate as well when working from home. About half of the UU employees also state they regularly to often experience mental issues (45 percent) or physical problems (53 percent) that are related to working from home. Nationwide, those percentages are a little lower (40 percent and 41 percent).

A third of the UU employee respondents say they want to get back to their familiar university work environment as soon as possible. Half of all respondents think they will be working from home one to two days a week in the future. One in five UU employees wants to continue working exclusively from home after the corona crisis is over.

The survey shows employees are mainly unhappy with their workload. The average grade for this is a 5.7, both nationwide and in Utrecht. Employees aren’t very positive about the work-life balance either, rating it a 6. They are happier with the ambiance at work: UU employees give this a 7.1, while nationally, this is a 7.4.

UU students and employees were also asked a peculiar question about the corona update – the emails the university board sends out regularly. The overwhelming majority of respondents see these as very welcome and highly informative.