Redress the balance by going freelance? Platforms can help!
When it comes to holistic living, doctors, psychologists, and life coaches have a lot to say. It’s not really the place of business founders to be handing out lessons, after all, they’re known for being work-obsessed and putting in long hours. But, they do know a thing or two about what it's like starting and growing a business,
The national lockdowns that followed the COVID-19 pandemic, did raise the issue of mental health and work/life balance in new ways, and we saw how different groups adapted, or not, to lives more online and more isolated. When it came to the world of work, we could broadly describe it in terms of two pillars.
Lessons from two pillars
There were massive repercussions for jobs - many were put on furlough with no idea if they'd ever return to work. Others were made redundant or left their jobs in order to look after children or relatives.
Companies put a freeze on hiring, so that sought-after promotion or change had to go on hold. With bars, pubs, and event venues closed, many go-to student jobs dried up, too. Job insecurity goes hand-in-hand with financial insecurity, with both easily causing worry, stress, and lost sleep.
There were also the more positive stories of people able to adapt to home working, thanks to a stable home, space to work, and the welcomed flexibility, comfort, and financial savings that came with home working.
There was also a shift away from office-based politics and clichés, and more communication among colleagues, albeit on Zoom and Teams. We even read some surveys and stories telling us mental health had improved, with reduced stress and anxiety, and more time for family and leisure.
Between these two pillars, there are a few lessons we can learn. What if we could take the experiences of the latter, the more positive, and see them as part of the future of work for those who found themselves in difficult situations.
That’s easy to say, but, there was no shortage of people who took the lockdowns as a chance to try something new - a side hustle, for example, turning their business idea into reality, or simply looking to create an additional source of income in uncertain times.
And, as we emerge from the effects of lockdowns, the rise white-collar contractor roles looks promising as another cause for optimism if you’re thinking of venturing into the world of work outside permanent in-house roles.
Self-employed with purpose
What we can say is that starting a business, or becoming self-employed is one possible way of recovering one’s sense of purpose, of control over one’s life and future, and less at the mercy of others and societal upheaval.
And if it’s something you’d prefer to do all the time, it’ll prove a handy source of extra money, contacts, and experience, and should another lockdown-type event happen, it’s there as a ready-made backup.
Survey research from Ipse, based on the experiences of 748 freelancers found that overall, 80% of freelancers felt that moving to self-employment had at least a somewhat positive impact on their mental health.
In fact, almost half of freelancers (48%) stated that transitioning to self-employment had a very positive effect on their mental health with a further third (32%) stating it had an at least somewhat positive effect.
That’s not to say that the life of the freelancer, self-employed, and contractor isn’t without its challenges. In fact, the worries faced by freelancers are well recognised, with associations like Ipse and pay.uk publishing survey data on the mental health challenges faced by the self-employed, particularly around the complexity and volume of administration, and chasing clients for payment.
Pay.uk research found that 26% of SME business owners stress about late payments even when they are not at work; 16% worry about the issue every working day, and almost one in ten (nine percent) considered accessing professional support to help with their anxieties over being paid late.
Rest, sleep, family and holiday time are eaten up with admin and chasing payment, and that can be a source of stress and anxiety, making life all work and no play.
A fighting chance with the right tools
Tools like business software platforms aren’t really there to address mental wellness, nor do they promise to. And, if there is a problem, it’s a doctor or counsellor you should be talking to. But, choosing the right tools will give you a fighting chance when it comes to setting-up, running, and growing your business or freelance work life, ensuring a better work/life balance and sense of control over one’s life.
There are tools out there for pretty much every aspect of running a business. Choose wisely. You won’t need them all, but you will reap the benefit of using the right ones for you - whether that’s registering a business, looking after your invoicing or payments, automating processes, HR requirements, document management, cash, and data visualisation, or insurance needs.
Let the tools do the heavy lifting, putting what you need at your fingertips, saving you time, helping you bring in money, and importantly, looking after your peace of mind.