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Extra working hours make freelancers happier and enthusiastic, study

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Population of freelancers has grown exponentially over the last decade. Thus, researchers tried to find out how freelancing affects behavior, health and lifestyle of a person.

Researchers compared how longer working hours affected freelancers and normal workers. It was found that extra workload made freelancers happier, calmer and more enthusiastic while extra working hours lead to stress and anxiety among other working counterparts.

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For the study, scientists observed 45 freelancers over a time span of six months where every volunteer was asked certain questionaries and they presented a self-analysis report on every weekend. After analyzing the data, researchers concluded that freelancers are happier and calmer when they have extra work to do. While, it leads to depression and frustration when they have very little work to do.

However, another striking point revealed in the study was that when work exceeds certain limit then it increases anxiety level among freelancers and eventually it might lead to depression. Study authors explained that this happens due to extra working load as it becomes extremely difficult to finish the work in timing constraints and meet the deadline which results in the increase in adrenaline level and it might cause anger, stress, frustration and depression in the worst case.

“Increased demands adversely affect people’s work-life balance; in particular work interferes with fulfilling family and other non-work commitments or pursuits,” sad lead study author Stephen Wood from the University of Leicester. “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.”

Since the study was conducted on a very small scale thus, study authors said that long working hours might increase enthusiasm for freelancers who work on an hourly basis while it might not be true for other freelancers who work project basis.

Moreover, normal office goers and freelancers both feel the same pressure of work. The difference lies in the extra workload that can make freelancers happy while it might increase anxiety among other counterparts. In both the case, working hours affects social behavior either in a constructive or destructive way.

The findings were published in the SAGE journal Human Relations.

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