Written by Blog Contributor: Lucy Reed of gigmine.co
Chances are that you know someone who struggles with mental health disorders. It’s possible that someone is you. Your workplace can play a major role in your well-being, so if your wellness is challenged by your working conditions, there is good news. The gig economy offers opportunities for improving your quality of life while still earning a living.
Stresses and struggles. Even if you don’t start out with a mental health disorder, the stress and anxiety of some workplaces can bring one on. According to The Conversation, many workers must deal with excessive workloads, requirements to be more productive with fewer resources, poor managerial practices, conflicts with coworkers, and little choice in what they do and when. Issues such as these can be detrimental to your mental health. Mental health issues are costing employers as well, with some estimates as high as $100 billion annually in mental health-related expenses.
Improve your situation. If those stressors sound all too familiar, engaging in the gig economy can be a boon to your well-being. Flexibility can be the biggest determining factor in improving mental health for workers, with some research showing productivity just as high for those embracing flexible employment options as for traditional workers. However, thanks to flex options such as telecommuting, workers report better health and happiness. The gig economy offers opportunities galore. Being able to adjust your schedule and workload to meet your other commitments in life can mean better satisfaction. Some studies show flexible employment options reduce stress and even make for better sleep habits. What’s more, you have the freedom and flexibility to match your schedule and workload with your energy levels. If you’re a morning person, you can get up and knock out duties at the crack of dawn. If you do best when you’re alone through certain days of the week, take on the bulk of your work during those times.
So, what is the gig economy? The gig economy refers to what is essentially an internet-based employment platform through which people offering goods or services connect with people needing those goods or services. It’s the chance to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and plan your own future. You can elect to do short-term work, engage a variety of clients, or freelance individual, one-time sessions or products. And as Wired explains, it’s a rapidly-growing arena with a plethora of employment types and venues. You could drive people around, provide bookkeeping services, or sell your handmade crafts. Do you love animals? Some people become dog walkers or offer dog-boarding services. Can you sell ice to an eskimo? Some of the best business ideas right now for master salespeople include selling wireless earphones, HIIT workout equipment, and phone cases. No matter your skills, there’s a gig that can make you money!
Downsides. Of course, it’s not all roses for gig workers. It’s important to understand that with the flexibility and freedom of leaving the traditional workplace, you also lose the benefits of a traditional workplace. There are no sick days or paid days off, and you don’t have an employer setting aside funds to pay your taxes or for your retirement. Those burdens fall to you. Even if bookkeeping isn’t your strength, as Forbes explains, this is all very doable. Track your expenses for a few months and establish a budget showing where your money is going. Aim to live on half of your income, set aside 30 percent toward flexible expenses, and then save the other 20 percent for things like your kids’ college tuition and your own IRA. Monitor your spending carefully to ensure you stay on track, and make sure you’re saving enough to pay your taxes on time.
Stay healthy and happy. Mental health disorders can be challenged by poor working conditions. Thanks to the gig economy, you can embrace a more flexible worklife. If it’s time to raise your quality of life through a healthier work environment, the gig economy offers opportunities for change.
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