Entrepreneurs “happier and more productive” than in former working lives

Only 38% of business owners say they are "tethered to their desks all day", with most taking advantage of flexible working and leisure opportunities

Self-employed individuals in London have said they are “happier and more productive” than in their previous working lives, according to a survey carried out by shared workspace provider The Office Group (TOG).

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 4.8 million or 15% of the UK’s working population are now self-employed, rising to 17.6% of London’s workforce.

The study of 1,156 business owners found that 80% reported being happier and more productive, while 22% said they “could not be happier”.

This could be down to increased opportunities to collaborate and socialise: 63% said they socialise with other entrepreneurs, while 32% had worked with and sought help and advice from from their peers.

London’s self-employed workers also appeared to benefit from greater flexibility; only 38% of those surveyed claimed to be “tethered to their desks all day”, while others opted for alternative spaces such as cafes, lounges, focus booths and outside terraces to mix up their working environment.

Others have split their time between different buildings, with 94% having worked from another space in London within the quarter analysed.

Leisure activities have become a more important part of the working day, with 29% of respondents having taken advantage of services such as the gym, a cafe, or events every week and 14% saying they used them daily.

The study also suggested that the structure of the working week is becoming “shorter and more intense”: entries into buildings were 4% higher on a Tuesday than a Wednesday, 14% higher than on a Monday and 21% higher than a Friday (the quietist day of the working week).

Olly Olsen, co-CEO at TOG, commented: “Over the past few years, there has been a generational shift in the way in which we work. Millennials, which now account for around 35% of the UK’s workforce, are reshaping the workplace. 

“Wellness has moved up the agenda. The health and happiness of employees is now a top priority, as employers recognise the knock-on effect this has on productivity and attracting and retaining talent.

“Providing facilities in a building that can make it easier to achieve this wellbeing is now a fundamental, whether that’s a cafe with healthy, nutritious food, an on-site gym or proper bike storage facilities with good showers. We believe we are setting a new working paradigm for tomorrow’s corporations.”

With employee wellness and a positive culture coming into focus as a vital element of company success, the founder of Money.co.uk Chris Morling told Startups.co.uk why looking after staff should be “your top priority in business”.

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