Wellbeing for the self-employed

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Motivations for entering self-employment remain overwhelmingly positive. This means that more and more people are enjoying the wellbeing benefits of self-employment, such as freedom, flexibility and control, but they are also facing more of the same challenges including time pressures, finding work and late payment.
Self-employed people often worry about all the different aspects of their work, such as completing projects on time, doing their self-assessment, chasing late payments and looking for work. The pandemic only exacerbated these issues for many freelancers, with many experiencing increases to job-related stress levels and deterioration to mental health.
To find out more about the key wellbeing challenges of the sector and provide practical solutions, IPSE's research team has been conducting research on the changing concerns and support needs of the self-employed when it comes to wellbeing.

Key statistics 

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80% of freelancers felt that moving to self-employment had at least a somewhat positive impact on their mental health.

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Since the coronavirus outbreak, only 39 per cent of freelancers rate their mental health as excellent or good compared to 68 per cent before the outbreak.


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Nine out of ten freelancers (92%) say taking time off has at least some positive effect on them.

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Nine in 10 self-employed people worry – at least occasionally – about their financial situation and half (51%) feel anxious or stressed as a result.


Remote working: Exploring the impact of the pandemic on working patterns and conditions for the self-employed

This report assesses the scale of remote working amongst freelancers since the Coronavirus pandemic, the advantages and disadvantages of increased work away from a client’s premises whilst also reviewing whether the shift has positively enhanced the overall freelancing experience.

Read the report


The hidden cost: exploring the impact of the pandemic on freelancer mental health

This latest research launched in June 2021 examines the impact the pandemic continues to have on freelancers' mental health, how poor mental health is affecting them and how they tackle this. With over half of freelancers stating that their mental health has deteriorated over the last year and a 200 per cent increase in poor mental health since before the pandemic, this report highlights that more needs to be done to support the sector. 

Read the report

Mental Health and the Self-Employed

For freelancers and the self-employed, coronavirus has been not only a health crisis, but also an income crisis. We can now see that this and the other circumstances of the lockdown have drastically undermined freelancers’ mental health. A quarter of them say they now have “poor” or “very poor” mental health – more than a 300 per cent increase since before the pandemic. To understand more about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the mental wellbeing of freelancers, read IPSE’s bespoke piece of research on the topic we conducted at the end of June 2020.

Mental health report

Taking time off as a freelancer

IPSE’s ‘Taking time off as a freelancer’ report explores how much time the UK’s freelancers are taking off work, how this impacts their wellbeing and productivity and what measures they can adopt to effectively prepare for a holiday. It also provides recommendations for government and clients on how they can better support freelancers to take time off.

Read the report

Remote Working: Freedom and flexibility for the self-employed

This piece of research examines the experiences of self-employed people who work remotely and emphasises some of the benefits and challenges of working this way. As well as providing flexibility, freedom and a better work-life balance, remote working can also lead to communication issues with clients and feelings of loneliness and disconnect. This report explores these challenges in more depth and sets out recommendations to alleviate some of the negative aspects of remote working.

Remote working


Mental health information and support 

If you are currently experiencing mental health problems there are a range of resources you can access on the Mind website. You can also find out about how to get help for your mental health and access support on the Mental Health Foundation website.

If you need to speak to someone, there are also a range of helplines available to support you.

You can also find a list of different mental health charities you can reach out to on the NHS website and access COVID-19-related guidance on mental health and wellbeing on the gov.uk website.

If you are an IPSE member, you can also:

  • Meet and talk with other members at events and IPSE Facebook or LinkedIn groups
  • Take advantage of the 24/7 health information and support through our partnership with AXA PPP Healthcare
  • Secure better peace of mind by accessing our tax and legal helplines
  • Access guides, tips, tools and templates through IPSE’s Resource library


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