News and opinion

Goodbye "work-life balance" - say hello to the "work-life blur"

Woman working from home

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    New research from Crunch shows that even though 86% of self-employed workers are happy they made the jump into working for themselves, they may have underestimated the amount of spare-time they would have.

    Of those 1,000 self-employed workers questioned, more than half (56%) became self-employed in order to obtain a better work-life balance. However, our research suggests that many are working an additional 14 hours every week, compared to similar permanent employed roles.

    It’s not all doom and gloom though as succinctly put by blogger Emma Cossey in response to the study:

    “Part of the reason we work harder is because we simply have more to do – marketing, finance, admin, sales etc. But it’s also because we actually like what we do.”

    As part of the report, we interviewed Marketing Consultant Nada from Leicestershire, who said:

    “The original idea was to work for myself to create that work-life balance we all dream of. In reality, I work much harder as a small business - no salary to fall back on or ability to ‘throw a sicky’. I do at least 60 hours a week, and with a home office am guilty of this stretching into the weekends, sometimes both Saturday and Sunday.

    I will work in my pyjamas, until midnight if needed, as you are always conscious that you are “only as good as your last goal” and you are the only one accountable for the project, so can’t afford to do a bad job or be late on a deadline. That said, it’s a nice problem to have, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    The unusual hours of a self-employed worker

    Of course, if you enjoy what you do it might feel a lot less like work, but never switching off isn’t healthy.

    Two-thirds of our respondents said they have difficulty sleeping because of work stress, with 72% of these saying financial concerns keep them awake when they should be getting some quality shut-eye.

    The traditional 9-5 is a thing of the past for many of the self-employed, as over a third (39%) start the working day before 8am, with 6% even starting between 4 and 5am.

    One in six respondents even admitted to checking work emails between the hours of 3am and 7am, with reports of people answering emails in public toilets, up a mountain, at a funeral, and even in one case, on their own wedding day.

    How Crunch can help

    In this “anytime, anywhere” environment easy access to the right tools and expertise is vital. We combine user-friendly and time-saving accountancy software, with unlimited on-tap accounting advice and human assistance. Each Crunch client gets a dedicated client manager to make sure their accounts are running smoothly and are there to answer any queries they may have.

    Reducing the time and energy spent on a self-employed person’s tax affairs means they can spend more time on the fun parts of the job… or indeed, sleeping when they’re supposed to.

    The Safety In Numbers report

    Earlier this week Crunch CEO Darren Fell embarked on a series of radio appearances, sharing the findings of the Safety In Numbers report with Jazz FM Business Breakfast, BBC Sussex & Surrey, Meridian FM, Swansea Sound, Yorkshire Coast Radio, BBC Radio Tees and Waves Radio.

    “Although people might have been looking for a better work-life balance, many are actually finding more of a work-life blur, because they’re so passionate about their line of work and their business’ success." Darren said.

    "It’s great to see so many people say that they feel they have realised their dreams. Crunch started in the same way, and it’s great to see that we are able to help so many people realise their potential."

    Coverage of the second chapter of the report has also appeared in: