Workplaces have rolled out a slew of wellbeing initiatives as the pandemic highlights the lack of work-life balance that most workers typically experience. Yet the rise of nap pods, flexible hours and summer Fridays still hasn’t had an impact on many female workers.
There has been a “significant increase” in the number of women starting their own businesses in the UK – and for many, the only reason they are experiencing the stress of starting a business in the current downturn is a better work-life balance, new research shows.
In fact, research by Small Business UK found that almost 40% of female entrepreneurs said improving work-life balance was the biggest catalyst for starting a business.
Meanwhile, 30 percent said they started a company because they wanted to choose where to work, and 25 percent reassessed their career after having a baby.
Michelle Ovens, founder of the UK Small Business and f-Entrepreneurs movement, said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of women entrepreneurs across the UK and together they make a huge contribution to the UK economy.” independent.
“While business owners face many economic challenges to address, it’s heartening to see the majority of women feeling happier and seeing immeasurable benefits in their lives as a result of jumping into entrepreneurship.”
The research comes as the British Small Business Association is opening applications for its annual #Ialso100 campaign, which showcases a line-up of 100 of the UK’s leading female business owners.
Women take matters into their own hands
Women started more than 150,000 new businesses last year amid rising gas bills, rising interest rates and a looming recession. That number is more than double that of 2018, according to NatWest Group’s Rose Review report, suggesting the pandemic has played a significant factor in female founders’ decisions.
Working from home as a result of the lockdown has given women a taste of what it is like to work on their own terms and juggle family responsibilities and careers. Isabelle Solal, an assistant professor of management at ESSEC Business School, said that now that bosses are asking workers to return to the office, women workers in particular are starting businesses. wealth.
Solar added: “By starting their own business, women can indeed find the flexibility they need to manage their careers and their obligations as primary caregivers of children and older family members.”
At the same time, the high cost of childcare is a huge career barrier for women who earn less than their spouses.
“For many women, the math just doesn’t make sense; “they basically use most of their wages to fund childcare, don’t see their children, and burn themselves out in the process. ’” says Lindsay Ephgrave, PR consultant and founder of Announce PR. wealth She started her career under similar circumstances.
At the same time, even women who are not mothers can benefit from a sense of security on the payroll.experts tell wealth Starting a business can help them escape the daily grind of sexism, discard workplace traditions created by and for male workers, and have a fair chance to make more money — because women are still at the mercy of the gender wage gap.
“Wages are not rising with inflation, and women have the potential to earn more in their own businesses than they would in employment,” Efgrave echoed.
But it’s not without risks
As new female founders are discovering, running your own business offers you the possibility to work from anywhere, but there is no doubt that doing so comes with its own set of responsibilities, as highlighted by Glassdoor career trends expert Jill Cotton like that wealth,”Becoming a business owner doesn’t automatically give you a better work-life balance. “
“When you’re no longer accountable, the pressure to execute increases,” Cotton warns. “Many business owners find themselves struggling to launch their own businesses, and the joy of starting their passion project can get sucked away.”
“Running a business can be demanding, and drawing clear boundaries between work and home can be even trickier,” adds career coach Natalie Tries. “But, you know you’re doing it for yourself.”
In other words, you might even work longer hours, but you can choose when to work.
As a self-employed person, Trice recommends starting by making a plan and reading Amy Porterfield’s book, two weeks notice.
“Not only does it lay out the practical elements of going it alone, it addresses doubts and doubters,” she added. “You may not be able to jump ship today, but you can think about what you really want to do and how to get there.”