The work-life balance is a tricky beast to master, regardless of the industry you work in. But those who work as contractors may struggle more than most to disassociate the two areas.
It’s an admittedly tricky balance. Contracting requires commitment, but overworking can lead to negative consequences, such as illness or burning out.
Contractor specialists Parasol have therefore offered some advice as to how best to avoid becoming more of a worker than a person, and has some tips to help you regain a healthy balance between your professional and personal sides!
The first piece of advice is to ‘switch off when you’re not working’. The temptation to check emails or sort out that next task can be hard to resist, but if this is you, then your work life is very much present in your personal life.
Parasol says ‘adopting the mindset that your messages don’t have to be answered immediately can help you to establish a healthy work-life balance and allow you to unwind.’
Parasol also says that having a set routine and sticking to it can be very beneficial. The flexibility of contracting is one of its many benefits, but this can mean that if you’re not careful, you could end up working longer and adding to your stress levels.
“Just like the standard 9-5 workday, establishing your own work schedule will allow you a better work-life balance and will help you to determine when you should work and take time off,” the company advises.
Further advice includes keeping the spaces in which you do your work and the places you live your life – for example your home office and living room – very much separate. Overlap can blur the lines between your professional and personal lives more quickly than you might think.
Parasol’s final piece of advice is around taking holiday. If you work as a contractor via an umbrella company for example, you are entitled to a set number of days as leave, and these shouldn’t be missed out on.
“Whether this is a luxury holiday with the family or a long weekend to relax at home, it is important that you take time off regularly,” the company advises. “This will help you to maintain a better balance and to keep stress at bay.”
Working as a contractor has a host of perks, but overworking, mismanagement and not taking the time to relax can ultimately be very detrimental. If you feel you need to readdress the balance, the above points are a good way to start!