Being a freelancer has its perks. You get to be your own boss, set your own hours, and take time off as you see fit. Thus, 77% of freelancers have a better work-life balance than salaried employees, according to Upwork. But while freelancing might seem like it allows for more downtime and personal time, the reality is that self-employed workers sometimes find themselves with less of these things than salaried folks.
Here are a few ways the freelance lifestyle lends to a better work-life balance:
1. Not being tied to a physical location
Freelancers have the option to work from home, set up shop at local coffeehouses, or take their laptops abroad and complete projects while experiencing new cities. That flexibility certainly enables them to not only enjoy life but tackle many non-work-related obligations as well, whether it's laundry, home repairs, or child care.
2. Not having preset hours
Freelancers get to work the hours they choose, which means that if they have other things to take care of during the day, they have the option to get their work done and tend to those items as needed. Not having preset hours also allows freelancers to take breaks to clear their heads and refresh -- whereas salaried workers who are limited to a certain schedule must often cram all of their work into a single eight-hour stretch.
3. Not having a limited number of vacation days
We all need time away from our jobs to recharge. The beauty of going freelance is getting limitless vacation days, which means self-employed folks can escape the grind as often as they deem it necessary.
On the flip side, here's why freelancers often experience a worse work-life balance compared to their salaried counterparts:
1. No paid time off
Salaried workers might have limited sick and vacation days, but when they do need time away from the office, they can often take it and still get paid. Freelancers don't have that option, and so often, they'll push themselves to work while sick or avoid going on vacation to not lose out on income.
2. Client deadlines
While it's true that freelancers can set their own schedules and work as much or as little as they want, ultimately, they rely on clients as their source of income. So, they're often forced to clock in long hours to accommodate client deadlines or alter personal plans when clients present last-minute projects.
3. The ability to always be working
While some freelancers have a hard time finding work, others are fortunate enough to be able to work as much as they want. But it's the latter camp that often has a hard time with work-life balance, because folks who have enough work to always be doing something job-related tend to do just that -- work all the time and never let themselves take a break. Along these lines, some freelancers feel perpetually guilty about enjoying downtime when they know in the back of their minds that they could be working and earning money instead.
Though being a freelancer might seem like the ideal solution to the work-life balance struggle so many folks face, in reality, it's not that simple. There's a less glamorous side to freelancing that salaried workers might not be aware of, so if you're thinking of going freelance to achieve a better work-life balance, remember that the grass might not be as green as you expect it to be on the other side.
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