Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Self-employed? Get ready for the 13-month working year

New research shows the self-employed work an extra 14 hours per week compared to employed workers – adding up to an extra month a year

  • 13-month calendar – self-employed work for an extra month every year – despite pursuing a better work-life balance
  • Jan-xiety – January revealed as the most stressful month, with two thirds finding it difficult to sleep because of work worries, including looming tax deadlines 
  • Down with down-time – independent workers take a mere half the average holiday allowance
  • Always on – self-employed admit to working on holiday, on the toilet and even on a date

One in seven Brits work an additional month every year, according to new research. The survey of 1,000 self-employed workers reveals that those going solo work a huge additional 14 hours per week, compared to permanent roles.

The survey, commissioned by online accounting firm Crunch as part of its Safety in Numbers Report, also reveals that January is the most stressfultime of the year for a third (31%) of self-employed workers – a new phenomenon dubbed Jan-xiety.

In fact, two thirds (66%) find it difficult to switch off and get to sleep because of work stress, with 72% saying financial concerns keep them awake at night, and over one in ten (15%) saying it is due to business deadlines, such as the looming self-assessment tax deadline on 31stJanuary.

The research also shows that working 9 – 5 is a thing of the past for many of the self-employed, as over a third (39%) start the working day before 8am and six per cent even clock in between 4am – 5am. A further 43% are still working after 10pm, with women more likely to work later into the night than men.

Struggling to switch-off completely, 72% of respondents check work emails on a personal phone or laptop, with this rising to 80% for self-employed Millennials. One in six respondents even admitted to checking work emails between the hours of 3am and 7am. 

More than half (56%) of respondents became self-employed in pursuit of a better work-life balance, and 45% to dictate their working hours better. The results of the survey clearly show that many self-employed are finding this difficult to achieve, and also highlights that over a third (32%) feel there isn’t enough support for the self-employed.

So, to give the self-employed a helping hand against Jan-xiety – and fit in with how and when they work - Crunch is trialling a customer service helpline with a twist. 

In the first of its kind, The Crunch Hotline will offer a helping hand to those with business on the brain in the early hours. Open from 4:00am-8:30pm between Monday 29th and Wednesday 31st January, Crunch’s team of professional advisors will be available on 0333 920 2857, offering much-needed support* to concerned freelancers and micro-business owners during the hours they need it the most. 

Darren Fell, Founder and CEO of Crunch, said: “The number of self-employed workers is rising, now making up one in seven of the UK workforce. It is therefore no surprise that working hours are constantly changing, particularly for the self-employed community who are increasingly ‘always-on’.

“We understand that self-employment comes with its challenges, but there are also huge benefits to be gained. With the right support from the organisations around them, the self-employed community can see their dream of a better work life balance become a reality.”

Working around the clock is also having an impact on crucial down-time, as independent workers are taking just 14 days holiday a year – half the national average allowance – and 13% take no time off at all.

But when they do manage to get away, over half (57%) admit to still working, with the most common reason being that they fear they’ll lose out on money (20%). 46% have even found themselves taking a work call or email in an unusual location to keep up with work demands, such as a public toilet (13%), on a beach (11%) and even during a date (2%). 

The full top 10 unusual locations people have worked:

  • A public toilet
  • On a beach
  • A fast food restaurant
  • Up a mountain
  • A fitting room
  • A live sports match
  • A date
  • In the bath
  • On a boat
  • In a hospital

To find out more about the Safety in Numbers report, visit the Crunch website:

*The Crunch Hotline will provide help and advice for general business concerns. For specific advice around the self-assessment deadline on January 31st, head to to book an appointment with an advisor.