Freelance workers are prone to happier as well as depressive moments during their fluctuating work hours, said a study conducted on a small sample of 45 freelancers over 6 months in the United Kingdom.
Every week the participants were asked to fill an identical survey and the results showed that they are calmer and more enthusiastic when their hours are longer than their normal pattern of working. But when the demanding working hours increased, they faced anxiety and also became depressed, said the study.
The study, conducted by researchers Stephen Wood of the University of Leicester, and George Michaelides of Birkbeck, University of London, revealed that increased demands adversely affect people’s work-life balance; in particular work interferes with fulfilling family and other non-work commitments or pursuits.
When workers’ increased workload generates enthusiasm at the expense of their lifestyle outside of work, wellbeing is immune to it, said the study. “Demands generate what has long been called stress-based work-family/non-work interference but hours generate a largely unrecognized phenomenon, enthusiasm-based work-family/non-work interference,” said researchers.
However, on the contrary, long hours can make freelance workers calmer, which has the opposite effect as it decreases work-family/non-work interference.
The enthusiasm-triggered work may be limited to people whose opportunities for work and income fluctuate and zero-hour workers might be the extreme of this. The long hours needed to fulfil tasks may be seen as a challenge and not a hindrance as conflicting demands may be, it said.
The study also revealed that freelance workers are equally subject to the same pressures as other workers. Conflicting demands, which affect people fulfilling their potential and smoothly completing tasks, adversely affect their work-life balance and well-being. When he freelance workers have control over, and variety in their work they are happier, it said.
The article ‘Challenge and hindrance stressors and wellbeing-based work-nonwork interference: A diary study of portfolio workers’, by Stephen Wood and George Michaelides, was published in Sage journal.