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Could working as a contractor be good for your health?

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Tuesday 1st Mar, 2016

For all types of workers, the work that we do is bound to become stressful from time to time. Stress and challenge are just two factors that are a part of working life and are both required to progress within any career.

Challenges help us overcome anxieties and fears that we have, essentially helping workers to grow professionally, step by step.

Stress, on the other hand, simply shows that we care about our jobs or the project we're working on at that time.

Bearing this in mind, however, it is important to remember that stress or excessive pressure shouldn't be at the forefront of any person's career and it certainly should not become something that is reoccurring intensely on a daily or weekly basis.

Work-related stress can often become a significant cause of illness, known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence and other issues, such as increased work errors.

Prevention is the best cure

So, how do we avoid succumbing to work-related stress? It's much better to avoid and prevent such situations than having to deal with them full on.

Working as a contractor can provide you with a lifestyle that offers a work-life balance with many health benefits.

Contractors have the pleasure of working for themselves, so that they can be completely flexible with plans that come around every now and again.

Working from home or working flexibly also allows contractors to fit work around their lifestyles. Eating healthily and exercising regularly are integral factors to general wellbeing and are often found to boost work production.

Contractors are able to fit these factors and other important tasks, such as doctor's appointments and taking medication, around their work. Those in permanent nine-to-five employment, however, often find it difficult to arrange appointments after or before work hours and then have to sacrifice dinner breaks.

Routine maximises output

Structuring the perfect routine is always a good idea for professionals who want a successful work-life balance.

Those who work in permanent employment are less able to create a routine that suits them, and have to create one based around when they have to be in work. Essentially, these types of workers are creating a lifestyle that revolves around their job, which doesn't necessarily mean productivity is at the centre of this structure.

For contractors, a routine formed around what suits them best simply maximises productivity and in theory, the quality and capacity of their workload. More importantly, a person's health can be massively improved by simply setting aside time to exercise or go to the gym each day.

Health outweighs business

Busy workers who are always on the go often skip breakfast as they simply don't have time. Contractors, however, can arrange time and work around important meal times.

Dr Mark Winwood, clinical director of psychological services at Axa PPP Healthcare, said: "Flexibility can mean a whole range of different things, and different types of arrangements will suit different people."

"The more control any of us feel we have over our working lives, the better we feel about work. Being allowed to choose hours that suit a business gives workers the ultimate sense of control."