Freelancing - the happiest way to work?

There is no right way to work - everyone is different, and everyone has their own preferred way of doing things. But, if this is true, that we all work on different schedules and routines, is self-employment the best way to work?

Surveys published by academics around the world reveal that self-employed people are far happier and more engaged with their lives than those working under traditional employment. 

An Independent article cites research which states that: “after studying data from 5,000 workers in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia, a team of British researchers concluded that those who were self-employed in a variety of sectors were also more successful in their careers and felt more satisfied with their professional contributions.”

Self-employed people will know of the great freedoms they have in their professions, whether it's over hours or pay - but what else makes this way of working so engaging?

The study found that self-employment gave workers freedom and room for innovation in their work. Co-author, Professor Peter Warr of the University of Sheffield, stated,“Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have, they have the freedom to innovate and express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people.” 

Brigad users know of the freedom that working self-employed creates, whether in their working hours, or the ability to work with different businesses in different locations, cities, or even countries. 

It is these opportunities which create higher rates of engagement and satisfaction in the role, as the opportunities to grow and learn new skills keep working feeling fresh and new. 

Ilke Inceoglu, the co-author of the study and professor from the University of Exeter, also said that people often find greater career satisfaction when they are self-employed “because they feel that any rewards they experience are almost entirely down to their individual efforts.”

“Being engaged in their jobs makes people feel energised and pleased with their own contribution, measuring how engaged people are in their work is therefore a really useful way to gauge their wellbeing and shows we must move beyond just looking at job satisfaction.”

Freelancing and job security 

There are many myths and scare tactics about freelancing - and it is only perhaps people with self-employed parents who will grow up escaping these myths. 

One of the biggest myths about freelance work surrounds job security. Many people think that without contracts and employment within a company, freelancers are left vulnerable and without job security.

Whilst this can be true in some cases, it is not true for everyone. In fact, many self-employed people work as contractors, which means that there are contracts in place to protect their payments. Brigad is no exception and protects users' payments.

Also, self-employed people often build up a strong client base over years of work, in which they establish close working relationships with their clients. 

These kinds of relationships are often much more secure than businesses working with larger companies, as they know they are better looked after by self-employed people with time to devote to the client.

It is also worth considering job security when large employers lose big business deals and are forced to make cuts. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, often it is cuts in staff and personnel which are the first to go, despite workers being contracted. 

If you lose your job through a single source of income, then you may find yourself in a very stressful position, having to find work quickly. Freelancers often divide their income, however, and so if they lose a client they can still rely on other revenue streams. 

Freelancing and odd working hours

Many people’s ideas of freelancing are of someone scrambling to make ends meet, taking any job they can and having to work odd hours, including very early mornings and all evening. 

Why do people think this? Perhaps because this routine is the opposite of a 9 - 5 office job. However, whilst this might be the case for people starting off and making contacts, it is not the case for established workers. 

Users of the Brigad app will know that working self-employed is not too dissimilar to being employed - the key difference is in the freedom that self-employed people have over their pay grade and hours. 

Freelancing hospitality workers will likely work the same shift patterns that employed hospitality workers will, except freelancing gives them the freedom to take more time off by reducing their hours, or blocking out hours where they are needed to work on other jobs, passion projects, or for family and parenting. 

Freelancing - the happiest form of employment

Self-employed people may or may not be surprised by the claims in the study that self-employment makes the happiest workers.

In reality, there are going to be positives and negatives to every form of working, just like in many aspects of life.

But, if anything, this is the true strength of freelancing - you have the freedom to make the job what you want it to be, by working the hours you want to work, and by working with the clients you want to work with.

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