Workers are increasingly pursuing the holy grail of work/life balance. Small enterprises that recognised the mutually beneficial growth of the gig economy sparked a trend that has spread to practically every profession.
In typical work environments, employees work longer hours than ever and are often not compensated for overtime. According to a poll conducted by Totallymoney.com, excessive workloads require the typical British worker to work an additional full day per week. Over 60% of employees report having a poor work/life balance. Additionally, their employer may not be assisting them in achieving it; according to YouGov, a sixth of British firms feel work/life balance is unimportant to their business.
Thus, how might individuals better their circumstances? In many circumstances, employees cannot cut their hours due to budgetary constraints, and even if they do, they may still find themselves cramming too much work into too little time. Some employees who have gotten burned out in a high-stress job have taken a different approach: they have reduced their hours at their primary job and taken up additional jobs, paid or unpaid, elsewhere.
Chris Rooke, 41, has discovered that this ‘portfolio career’ method works for him. His banking work required him to spend significantly more time at the office than he desired, and it was becoming a big cause of stress in his life. ‘I saw a chance to organise a more diversified and unique career,’ he explains.
‘I established my property and alternative asset firm while diversifying into other personally fulfilling endeavours. This includes serving as a trustee for a local school, a magistrate, and a coach for a local minor rugby team. However, working in this manner might imply reduced income, so does he pine for his former banking salary? Not at all. ‘I will cherish the time I spent with my three children and the impact I made outside of a traditional work structure,’ he adds. ‘The increased flexibility and diversity more than compensate for the revenue loss.’
Away from the private sector, public sector employees face similar difficulties. Healthcare is an industry where employees often complain about difficult working conditions and the necessity to remain late to handle workloads. According to Totallymoney’s analysis, health employees worked an average of 7.7 hours of overtime every week, half of which was underpaid.
Cara Harwood, a newly certified London midwife, exemplifies this trend: she has already opted to work on a supply basis, augmenting her hours with dance instruction and doula work. She discovered that severe understaffing’ and ‘exhaustive paperwork’ made the job much too demanding and often required her to remain beyond the end of her shift.
GPs, too, report experiencing stress due to their increasingly difficult work. According to a study conducted by The King’s Fund last year, GPs’ workload has increased in terms of volume and complexity and intensity. They have 13% more face-to-face visits and 63% more telephone appointments than they had five years ago.
The King’s Fund discovered that GPs often work more than 12 hours a day due to paperwork, telephone consultations, surgery consultations, and home visits; the given time window of roughly 10 minutes for each patient invariably results in their being late if a patient requires more time. They often wind up bringing work home with them on weekends.
Given that more funds or employees have not mitigated the increase in workload, it’s unsurprising that GPs find a portfolio career or part-time employment appealing. Only 11% of GPs questioned by The King’s Fund said they expected to work in a clinical job full-time five years after graduating. Some may be contemplating mixing private and NHS practice, as a few GPs now do.
On-demand, new GP services such as DocTap allow physicians to work in a far less stressful environment: with 15 minutes dedicated to each patient, no telephone conversations to squeeze in, and a set base from which to operate without making home visits, doctors feel much less stressed at the end of the day. This helps both their private and NHS patients; by not working at a constant, unrelenting pace throughout the week, GPs believe they can provide all patients with the level of attention and counsel they deserve.
Therefore, the next time you’re working hard into the evening, feeling under pressure and underpaid, consider a portfolio career.