Balancing Work and Life: Taking Advantage of Contracting Flexibility
We all know that trying to find the balance between our working and home lives is one of the most important things we can do to avoid feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. The problem, of course, is that finding balance is often easier said than done! Research by clinical experts Forth shows that 85% of adults in Britain feel constantly stressed, with work being cited as one of the top 3 primary sources of stress.
The Work/Life Balance
There’s no right or wrong answer, no right or wrong percentage of time spent here or there, when it comes to finding the perfect work/life balance. Rather, it’s about ensuring that you’re not only challenging yourself and pushing your professional boundaries at work, but also that you’re giving yourself enough downtime to enjoy non work-related activities, too. Exactly where the line falls will vary from person to person and situation to situation, but the truth of the matter is that, with the average full time UK employee working 37.2 hours per week, remarkably few people are giving themselves enough ‘me time’.
In fact, the average Brit works longer than workers in many parts of Europe, including Finland, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, and Denmark. The most notable difference is between the UK and Germany. German employees work for just 1363 hours per year on average (that’s under 30 hours per week). Now, that sounds more like it! So what could British workers be doing to help themselves find a healthier work/life balance?
Flexible Working and Contracting
Since regulation changes were introduced to provide all employees with the legal right to request flexible working arrangements from their employer, the ‘flexi-time’ arrangement has fast become the standard, go to method of improving the work/life balance. However, there is an alternative option which could also be beneficial.
Contracting — acting as an independent worker for fixed term contracts — offers skilled IT professionals greater flexibility and more control over how they work, where they work, and, perhaps most importantly, when they work. With established end dates, which are often determined by the individual project, this way of working allows an IT professional to schedule regular breaks between contracts to give themselves more time to enjoy all the other things that they love. And with contractor rates typically much higher than the average salary, contractors can often enjoy not only more downtime, but better financial rewards, too. This could be you!
Making the Most of Your Downtime
Contracting flexibility means it’s possible to schedule breaks at the times when you really need themmost. Whether you arrange your contract breaks to coincide with school holidays and spend more time with the kids, or you decide to take more time off in the summer to enjoy the warmer weather and the beauty of the great outdoors, contracting puts you in charge of when you work... and when you don’t!
But downtime isn’t just about relaxing, it’s also about having the time to identify new opportunities that could help you expand your professional career and facilitate the learning and development of new skills. We recommend staying up to date with the latest contracting opportunities on Contract Recruit during your breaks, ensuring that you have something exciting lined up for when you’re ready to get back to work.