Appen Contributors Reflect the Effects of COVID-19 Around the World in 2021

Last year, Appen surveyed our global crowd of contributors to better understand one question: how has the pandemic affected you? We received thousands of responses filled with personal stories ranging from financial hardship to tragic losses. In 2021, we find ourselves in a world where the pandemic still persists, but with some countries starting to slowly lift lockdown restrictions, while others still face an uphill battle against the virus. No matter where you are, we’ve all been impacted in some way by these challenging times. With that in mind, we checked in again this year with our contributors to see how they’re handling stress and staying productive while working from home.

This year, our survey had over 14,000 responses from all over the world. About 55% of survey respondents are employed full-time or part-time outside of the Appen platform. Of those who are also employed elsewhere, 43% are considered essential workers. Read on for their stories.

COVID-19’s Impact on Work

We are grateful to our customers to be able to offer remote work opportunities during a time when flexibility is much-needed and many people are out of work due to quarantine restrictions. In our 2020 crowd survey, we found that 32% of contributors were furloughed, lost their job, or had their hours reduced due to COVID. That number has increased to 37% this year as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the globe. To highlight these impacts, here are a few of their stories:

“As a teacher working in a public school, our learning calendar has been greatly affected and the idleness of learners has negatively affected their discipline.” Kenya

“A big part of my income before the pandemic was playing live music working as a musician.” UK

“I was working in a private school as an English Teacher for 8th class students. School closed and I had to find a new job. I focused on online work which I thought was healthier and less stressful.” Turkey

As we also discovered in our 2020 survey, these stories are not unique to just one part of the world; they’re happening everywhere. Many people across industries have had to adapt to different hours, different jobs, and unemployment, leading to financial hardships for families.

Appen continues to offer remote opportunities to help bridge these gaps for our contributors and offer a more reliable income source. When we asked our crowd contributors how their work with us was impacted by the virus, nearly half of respondents reported that they didn’t have to change the amount of work they complete on the platform, while about 20% had less work, and another 20% or so had more work. Contributors noted in their responses that they appreciated the ability to work from home and stay safe in the middle of lockdowns, with approximately 79% saying they would recommend Appen to their family and friends.

Appen’s Global Crowd Describes How Pandemic Continues to Impact Them in 2021

Personal Challenges Faced by Our Contributors

All of us have experienced some level of hardship due to the pandemic—whether in regard to our mental health, physical health, or finances. Our contributors frequently mentioned mental and financial stress as the biggest challenges they’re facing, in addition to personal losses. The virus directly impacted a majority of our surveyed crowd: over 60% of respondents said that either a family member, friend, or themself contracted the virus. People opened up about their struggles:

“The biggest challenge to me as a mother is my family’s financial needs. My husband had lost his job, and my salary was lessened, so that I had to get other part-time jobs that would not compromise my health.” Philippines

“Juggling work with kids schooling from home.” US

“Access to food supplies.” Nigeria

“Overcoming the loss of friends and family.” Brazil

“The biggest challenge has to be the mental stress that comes along with it. You have to try to keep your thoughts in a positive place but it is not easy as the situation around us has deteriorated quickly.” India

It’s difficult to comprehend the number of people experiencing food or economic insecurity, mental health struggles, and physical challenges.

How We Move Forward

We appreciate all of our contributors, including those who responded to our survey and shared their stories. Hearing these experiences can help us realize that we’re indeed part of a global community, one that deserves our support and attention. It remains to be seen what type of long-term effects the pandemic will have on our societies, but in the meantime all we can do is take one step at a time to move forward. For our part, Appen will continue to offer flexible, work from anywhere jobs with a commitment to fair pay and the safety of our crowd.

On a final note, survey respondents shared words of encouragement for their fellow contributors. One contributor from Germany commented, “Stay safe and take care of each other!” Another from India echoed this sentiment: “Stay home, stay safe, stay strong.”


If you need a flexible job that you can do safely from home, please consider applying here to become part of our global crowd.

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