Self employed workers are less stressed than their employed counterparts, according to a new study.
Axa’s Stress Index of 4,000 workers finds that 82% of Britons feel stressed at least some of the time during a typical week and almost a tenth feel stressed all of the time. Stress in the workplace is strongly linked to the ‘always on’ culture, with almost three in every five people (59%) admitting to taking calls outside of working hours, while more than half (55%) check their emails, the survey found.
However, it also found that self employed people seemed less stressed than their employed counterparts. Some 78 per cent of self-employed people describe themselves as stressed to some extent, compared to those who work for someone else where the figure is nine in ten.
Fewer self-employed people said their stress came from their work life: 42 per cent compared to 61 per cent of company employees. The study also showed that those who work for themselves are three times less likely to say they deal with ‘difficult’ people as part of their daily work.
Moreover, while 11 per cent of workers say they are stressed all the time, that falls to just two per cent of those who work for themselves. And when asked about their overall mental health, 30 per cent of full-time employees said they had concerns compared to just 11 per cent of ‘own bosses’.
The survey found half of self-employed people said they sometimes struggle to pay their bills due to monthly fluctuations in income. However, one in five company employees said the same due to the more precarious nature of many jobs these days.
Self-employed people are less likely to feel their income is insecure in the long term. Just under half said they worry about the stability of their business while two thirds of employees worry their jobs are insecure. Likewise, 83 per cent said their work is safe from automation in their lifetimes, double the number of those who work for someone else.
On long hours, just 22 per cent of self-employed people said they worked overly long hours, half the figure of those in employment. However, two thirds of business owners say they always take calls and emails from customers outside normal working hours.
On earnings, the survey found a full-time self-employed person earns £33,000 or £6,000 more than the average employee. However, one in 10 self-employed people earn under £11,000 per year from their business. But 22 per cent earn above the £45,000 higher rate of tax while four per cent earn over £100,000.
Gareth Howell, Managing Director, AXA Direct: “We have the stereotype of the adrenalin driven entrepreneur and assume that being your own boss is always stressful. Looking at our index, self-employed people do indeed appear stressed, but that’s only before you compare them to everyone else. This is a fascinating bit of insight: does life just get less stressful when you’re self-employed, or do you simply become more resilient?”
“I do feel there is something here about how much control an individual feels they have over their destiny. When we asked people about their motivations for starting a business ‘control’ was the word that came up time and again, in four in ten verbatim answers. Being able to wrest back control in an uncertain world is the crux of our self-employment boom, and explains why the self-employed come out best in this year’s Stress Index.”