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Could becoming a contractor eliminate your work-related stress

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Saturday 29th Oct, 2016

The past month has seen National Work Life Week take place in the UK, while World Mental Health Day saw awareness of wellbeing issues raised across the world.

As a result, the prevalence of stress, anxiety and depression has been thrust to the forefront of the media in recent weeks, with several reports focusing on the increasing levels of work-related stress and pressures that workers throughout Britain face.

But could becoming your own boss and working as a limited company contractor or freelancer help to reduce your work-related stress levels?

How stressed are UK workers?

According to research published by CV-Library to coincide with National Work Life Week at the beginning of October, more than half (53.2 per cent) of UK workers believe stress to be a growing issue at their workplace.

The main causes of stress were found to be poor management, which was cited by almost two-thirds (65.8 per cent) of respondents, followed by low morale (38.1 per cent), heavy workloads (34.1 per cent), long working hours (29.3 per cent) and poor work-life balance (25.5 per cent).

This led over two-thirds (67 per cent) of those questioned to state that high stress levels had a negative impact on performance and productivity at their workplace.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, commented: "Our findings reveal the true extent of workplace stress across UK organisations and the impact that poor management has on workers' wellbeing.

"As a nation, we are battling with heavier workloads and longer working hours and this is resulting in a poor work-life balance for many. While it can be difficult to take a step back from work, especially with an increasing amount of technology at our fingertips, creating a balance between our professional and personal lives is important."

Furthermore, research from the Trades Union Congress released on World Mental Health Day on October 10th led to the discovery that 70 per cent of workplaces believe growing stress levels to be an issue, up from 67 per cent in 2014.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, stated: "Pressures of long working hours and low job security are being felt in workplaces across the UK. It is no one's interests to have overstretched workforces. People who experience high anxiety are less productive and are more likely to take time off."

However, by becoming your own boss and working through your own limited company, you could eliminate some of these work-related stresses from your life, improving your mental wellbeing as a result.

How to improve your workload management

Leaving permanent employment and becoming a contractor provides the ideal platform for gaining greater control over your workload and the type of projects that you want to work on, meaning you can achieve increased professional satisfaction levels and only take on the contracts that you have time for. As a result, your stress levels are likely to decrease and your overall happiness with your job should improve.

The balance that you have between your personal and professional life should also improve, as you'll be able to devote more time to your loved ones and hobbies if you no longer have to commute, especially as you’ll have the option to work from home.

Many people become contractors in fields that they are passionate about, which means you can effectively tailor your day-to-day role to make it as enjoyable as possible for yourself to suit your interests.

What's more, by engaging the services of PayStream's limited company service, My PSC, you can rest safe in the knowledge that your limited company is being run compliantly and in the most tax-efficient way possible, allowing you to spend more time completing contracts and working on improving your work-life balance.

Finding the right culture for you

As CV-Library's research found that working with colleagues we don't get on with is one of the factors that makes us most stressed at work, it's important to make sure you're only working with clients whose cultures feel right for you when establishing your limited company.

If you're leaving a traditional nine-to-five job to start out on your own, you need to feel comfortable and happy working with the clients you select or are approached by, so take the time to ask them about their cultural values and what exactly they'll expect from you during the contract. This will help you to decide if an organisation is the right fit for you.

If for any reason you think you won't fit in there or may get stressed out by its culture, there will be plenty of other opportunities that are the ideal fit for your limited company and your own unique set of values.

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