Editor | 11 September 2018
The Hidden Health Risks of Self-Employment

The Hidden Health Risks of Self-Employment

Self-employed workers and other micro business owners face hidden mental and physical health risks, according to research from cloud accountancy software provider FreeAgent.

The award-winning UK software company surveyed nearly 600 freelancers and small business owners and found that 73% thought that the pressures of the job had put their health under strain.

Almost four-in-ten said that freelancing affected their mental and physical health, while one-in-ten said it affected their physical health only and a quarter said it affected their mental health only.

Long hours may be at the root of the problem for the nation’s micro business owners. FreeAgent’s research suggested that 38% of freelancers work more than 48 hours in a week, while 7% work more than 64 hours.

Researchers in America have linked long hours spent sedentary in front of a computer with a significantly lower life expectancy. And in the UK, scientists have found a correlation between overworking and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

It’s not enough to put off most hardened freelancers though. A whopping 81% of respondents said that they would recommend self-employment as a career and 60% said that, in general, they thought that their mental health had improved as a result of running their own business.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said : “Running a business can be a very rewarding experience that allows people to follow their passions.

“However, it can can also be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming – usually because you spend a lot of time on your own, having to troubleshoot difficult issues and deal with tedious admin, and you don’t always get to work on the parts that are actually enjoyable.”

He continued: “Working for yourself should be an uplifting experience that enables you to be the master of your own destiny – not one that is detrimental to your health and wellbeing.

“Clearly more needs to be done to ensure that the UK’s legion of freelancers and small business owners can protect themselves from any mental or physical health problems that arise from self-employment in the future.”

Miles Grady, Director of Cloud Accountant said: “Working long hours is almost a fact of life for the nation’s micro business owners. Couple these hours with some of the inherent uncertainties of running your own company and it’s easy to see how freelancing can affect mental and physical wellbeing.

“Having a strong support network in place is crucial if you are a freelancer. But the value of professional support with things like managing finances and handling administration should not be underestimated. Outsourcing these tasks frees up more time to focus on what’s important.”

To learn more about cloud accountancy software for freelancers, speak to a member of the team today. Call: 0808 281 0303.