The ranks of the UK’s umbrella companies could be swelled following the publication of a new report from the Institution of Occupational health and Safety (IOSH). It reveals that almost a third of the UK’s workforce claims to have experienced problems in personal relationships as a direct result of pressures at work.

29 per cent of the people polled in the survey said that their relationships had suffered due to a destructively skewed work-life balance involving excessive workloads and long hours. These were the two factors cited most frequently by respondents as exerting a harmful effect on their personal lives.

Commenting on the report, the Executive Director of Policy at the IOSH, Dr Luise Vassie, said that the struggle to attain a good work-life balance “is an ever growing issue in today’s society.” Too many people, she went on, are allowing work to dominate their lives, with the predictable consequence that home life suffers.

More people today are working harder than ever, a development which suggests that, far from freeing up greater leisure time, the long-reach, ultra-cast technology of the information age is simply increasing both the pace and duration of the working day. Relationships outside work are inevitably becoming strained as a result, a development which suggests that the old aphorism “I don’t live in order to work, I work in order to live,” has started to go into reverse.

People who have made the transition from permanent salaried employment to PAYE umbrella contracting often discover that they gain far greater flexibility over the number of hours they choose to work; it could well be that their numbers are about to surge.

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