How to strike a healthy work-life balance for contractors

5 Tips for striking a healthy work-life balance for contractors

58% of contractors value a good work-life balance over factors such as pay. In fact, 97% of contractors claim to be happier than traditional employees, citing the freedom and flexibility to choose their own working hours, amongst other things, as key factors for this.

However, as many contractors typically work intensively on any one project, the reality usually means that contractors can find it difficult to limit their working hours and switch off from the contract at hand. Yet, finding the perfect work-life balance offers contractors a range of benefits, from boosting productivity to increasing wellness. Fortunately, Umbrella Supermarket have compiled this handy guide to help every contractor strike the perfect work-life balance.

1. Switch off from distractions

Working on projects intensively, it’s inevitable that even when contractors aren’t at work, they’re thinking about work - checking emails, notifications and work phones. It’s no surprise, considering that the average professional checks their emails and messages on average every 6 minutes.

The easiest way to switch off and enjoy your downtime without distractions from work is to turn off your work phone or switch off email notifications. This way, there’s not a constant reminder that you have new messages to be dealt with.

If a project requires a contractor to check their emails outside of usual office hours, set specific times that you will do this and stick to them. For example, check your emails at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm for no longer than 15 minutes each time.

2. Keep home and work separate

Whether you work from home or in the client’s office, most contractors will find that they at least carry out admin, paperwork and marketing tasks from home. That’s why it’s important that contractors find a way to keep work and home separate in order to turn off and unwind at the end of the working day.

It’s a great idea to make use of a home office that you leave at the end of the day and don’t return to until the next morning. Even if a contractor’s home office is the dining room table, it’s important to put your laptop away and out of sight once you’ve finished -  helping you distinguish between work time and home time. After all, with 26% of us taking our work home with us, simple things such as shutting the door behind you can really help switch off from work distractions.

3. Set aside time for your hobbies and passions

As we’ve mentioned, contractors are 97% happier than traditional employees, finding their careers and way of working extremely rewarding. However, although contractors are happy, driven workers, it’s also important that they know when to switch off. After all, to stay productive and improve efficiency it’s important to unwind, enjoy some downtime and focus on other things you are passionate about.

However packed your schedule, it’s important to carve out the time to concentrate on your hobbies – whether that’s exercise, meeting with friends or spending time with family. This will leave contractors feeling re-energised and rearing to go with the contract at hand.

4. Work on time management

Contractors cite one of the biggest benefits to the contracting way of life is being their own boss, working to their own schedule. That freedom and flexibility is a huge perk, but it can often mean that contractors end up working long hours, often dipping back into work once they have left the office and returned home.

In fact, with only one third of British workers claiming to be satisfied with their work life balance, it’s hugely important that contractors work on their time management in order to maintain job satisfaction.

Building and sticking to a routine is a great way of distinguishing when it’s time to finish work and switch off for the day. For contractors working in the client’s office, using the commute home to wind down before logging off completely when they arrive home is a great way to create work-life boundaries. Use this time to do a final check of emails for the day, work on your contractor marketing or network on LinkedIn.

For contractors that work from home, dedicate a separate space for work time, turning off your laptop and shutting the door behind you at the end of the working day. Set and stick to specific hours for working, specific hours for carrying out admin tasks and specific times for enjoying some downtime.

5. Know when to delegate

Contractors are busy people. This is especially true of limited company contractors who are required to juggle work with running a business. With the working day dedicated to the contract at hand, it can be difficult for these contractors to find the time to take care of the admin and financial tasks that are required of running a business. This means these contractors typically take time out of their evenings or weekends to complete these essential tasks.

Delegating tasks can help contractors strike a better work-life balance, giving them the time to unwind, relax and avoid burnout. Using the services of an umbrella company allows contractors to take the stress out of organising admin, paperwork and finances, giving them more time to spend on doing the things that are important to them – whether that’s enjoying your downtime, spending time on your hobbies, or concentrating on family life.

Choose the right umbrella company for you

When it comes to choosing an umbrella company, there’s no one size fits all. Every umbrella company is different, meaning it’s important that contractors take the time to find the perfect match for them. Umbrella Supermarket’s quick and easy Umbrella Company Comparison Tool shows contractors the best umbrella options for them based on their preferences - whether that’s more money, IR35 compliance or service. Ready to free up more of your time and find the perfect work-life balance?

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