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Forget balance, self-employment is about work-life blur

New research shows that even though the vast majority of self-employed workers are glad they made the decision to work for themselves, they had underestimated the amount of spare time they would have.

Crunch Accounting polled 1,000 self-employed workers and found that 86% said they were happy they had set up their own business; more than half (56%) said they became self-employed in order to improve their work-life balance.

However, the findings show that 27% of freelancers are putting in more hours than they were when they had permanent employed roles; and 21% said they work as many hours as before.

The report reveals that most self-employed workers are “on duty” for 13 hours a day. In addition, UK freelancers are typically taking just 14 days of holiday a year and one in eight take no time off at all. Almost half (47%) work while they are away.

Above all, the research found that there is no such thing as a 9-5 existence for most self-employed workers. The findings show that 39% start the working day before 8am and 36% regularly skip meals to keep on top of their workload.

The self-employed workers polled also admitted that they have had to answer emails in some very unusual locations - including public toilets, up a mountain, at a funeral and even on their own wedding day.

Never switching off is taking its toll on many people that work for themselves, according to the report. Two-thirds of the respondents (66%) said they have difficulty sleeping because of work stress; and 72% of these said financial concerns keep them awake.

Crunch ceo Darren Fell said: “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.”