Freelancers twice as likely to suffer from depression than office workers, study finds

Freelancers disproportionately suffer from depression, as a result of loneliness, survey finds. Photo: Thought Catalog/Unsplash

Freelancers are twice as likely to suffer from depression than office-based workers, research suggests.

In a survey of 1,500 Brits, conducted by office stationery and furniture suppliers Viking, nearly three in five (56%) of freelancers admitted to struggling with depression as a result of their job, compared to just three in 10 of those who work out of an office.

This is likely a result of spending long days working alone, with 64% of freelancers saying they regularly feel lonely due to their work.

READ MORE: Five essential apps for freelancers and self-employed people

In fact, 53% of freelancers cited “feeling lonely at work” as one of the worst aspects of being a freelancer.

A lack of support for mental health issues was also one of the most-cited issues, showing that freelancers feel unsupported in this area.

The study found freelancers are more likely to feel stressed due to work, at 62%, compared to 55% of office-workers.

READ MORE: Freelance Life – How to Balance Work and Family

This could be because they find it harder to switch off from work, the study suggests.

Three in 10 freelancers take their work laptop on holiday, with over half (54%) reading work emails, and 48% replying to them. 

In comparison, less than half (13%) the number of office-based workers take a laptop away, 36% read emails, and 30% reply. 

READ MORE: How the hustle and gig economy is choking the middle class

Just 15% of freelancers said they avoid work altogether when on holiday, meaning 85% never take a complete escape from their day-to-day routine.

When it comes to office-based workers, 42% said they avoid work altogether.

Bob Huibers at Viking said:“Freelance working is often seen as the dream working scenario, where you can set your own hours, choose your own clients and avoid that dreaded daily commute. 

READ MORE: How to prepare your taxes if you're a freelancer

“We were shocked to see that so many freelancers suffer from mental health problems linked to their work, the solitary nature of being a freelancer and feeling unable to switch off on holiday.

“This research shows how it’s vitally important to get the right work-life balance and look after your mental health, no matter what industry you work in.”