• Happy homeworkers are turning the tables on loneliness

    February 10th 2016. Posted in SME Insurance

    Loneliness affects almost half of the UK’s home-working professionals, according to a new study by AXA Insurance*. However, it finds that loneliness does lessen year on year, and those who persist learn the trick of happiness.

    Eighty three per cent of people who start a home business do it because they want to set their own working hours; freedom from co-workers/bosses is top for 77 per cent, and for two thirds, peace and quiet is most important.

    A year in, however, and they can feel they’ve had too much of a good thing: loneliness, professional isolation and punishing hours are common flip sides.

    Forty eight per cent of homeworkers say they feel lonely sometimes – and it’s a daily struggle for one in three. The most common reason was not too many hours alone, but not being able to talk about their business with someone who understands it.

    Only 14 per cent say they can discuss business worries with friends and family, and two thirds miss the sympathetic ear of a colleague. Unsociable hours, meanwhile, deepen the sense of isolation: sixty two per cent of homeworkers work into the night for their clients, and one in three say their hours are excessive.

    Insights from the happiest homeworkers 

    The study found that the longer you work from home, the happier you become, with levels of loneliness decreasing over time. Clearly there are lessons to be learned along the way, and AXA identified the top four traits of the happy homeworker.

    1. Create social moments. Getting out for lunch was voted the best mood booster: banter with local shopkeepers help one in five, and one in ten go out just to chat to strangers. Regular lunches or drinks with other homeworkers emerged as the best way to feel professionally connected.
    2. Work office hours on your ‘on’ days. People who start work before 6am or regularly work into the evenings reported the highest rates of loneliness. The least lonely, meanwhile, overwhelmingly work office hours.
    3. Exercise your right to skive. Sledging with neighbours, open top car rides on a sunny day, carol singing and even skydiving -- the happiest homeworkers do exercise their right to ‘skive off’ occasionally. The business often benefits too: 'I met friends in Soho and had a drink instead! Came back with some great ideas though – so very glad I did it!'
    4. And some unexpected tips. Working in the living room, with the radio on with the company of dog or cat was named the happiest scenario. In fact, getting a pet was named the best way to beat loneliness by a quarter of homeworkers. Least happy are those who work at the kitchen table, wear pyjamas or have the TV on.

    “When starting a home business, it's common to have a business plan. Few people plan a strategy for happiness though,” says Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance. “The idea isn't as bizarre as it sounds. Once you venture out on your own, your business will depend wholly on your wellbeing.

    “The good news is that people do become happier the longer they work at home, and you can learn how they do it. Other homeworkers can be a huge source of inspiration and hard-won wisdom. Local groups can provide the strongest friendships, and online networks are a good start if there aren’t many opportunities in your area.”



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    Notes for Editors 

    Notes to Editors

    *The study of 330 professionals working from home was conducted by AXA Business Insurance in January 2016.

    Legal Notes 

    AXA Business Insurance

    AXA Business Insurance is part of AXA Insurance UK plc, which belongs to the AXA group of companies. With us, you choose the business insurance that's right for you. We offer public liability, employers' liability and professional indemnity insurance online to start ups, sole traders, self-employed people and small businesses. In addition we offer van insurance and landlord insurance. AXA Business Insurance also runs Business Guardian Angel which provides resources to help protect and grow small businesses.

    You can follow AXA Business Insurance on Twitter @AXAbizteam, for business insurance help, and @AXABizAngel, for the latest business news. You'll also find AXA Business Insurance on Google+ and Facebook - and you can watch expert guides and business case studies on the AXA Business Insurance YouTube channel.

    About AXA

    The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with more than 161,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 59 countries. In 2014, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 92.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.1 billion. AXA had Euro 1,277 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2014. In 2015 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 7th consecutive year.

    In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 12,000 staff in the UK.

    The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

    The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

    It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.