UK Freelancers Losing More than £28 Billion a Year Due to Admin Tasks
More people than ever before are working as freelancers. The number of individuals who are self-employed has increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. That figure is expected to increase as more people go into business for themselves.
Working as a freelancer offers numerous benefits. You can set your own hours and have the freedom to choose your projects to work on. Freelancing also gives you the flexibility to work anywhere you want. You’re not tied down to a single location.
With that said, there are also downsides to working as a freelancer. The most obvious is that as an independent contractor you’re not eligible to receive employer-provided benefits. And as you are self-employed, paid sick time is essentially non-existent. You’ll need a backup plan for times that you’re unable to meet deadlines or have personal emergencies to attend to. Income can also be variable – some months can be extremely busy while others might be slow.
Then there are basic administration tasks that need to be done. These include keeping track of time spent on a project, ensuring invoices are paid, filing taxes on time, and fixing any IT problems. As it turns out, attending to these administrative tasks can be quite costly to the economy.
New research from Setapp has found that freelancers are losing approximately £28.1 billion a year on basic menial tasks, like cleaning out their inbox. That equates to spending an average of eight and a half days a year on admin tasks. A survey of 1,002 British freelancers found that only one in ten (10%) has seen a decrease in the amount of admin work they’ve had to do since becoming self-employed. Meanwhile, over two fifths (44%) have seen an increase.
Admin Tasks Impeding Productivity
Almost half of the freelancers surveyed (48%) indicated that time-consuming admin tasks are holding back their productivity. Unlike salaried workers, freelancers are typically paid for what they’re able to complete. Days that are unproductive mean earning much less than days that are. So it’s vital for freelancers to maximise their productivity, instead of being slowed down by basic administration tasks.
Oleksandr Kosovan, CEO and Founder of Setapp, says, ‘Freelancers are missing out on a substantial amount of money through the inefficiency of how they’re taking on admin tasks. Time is money in the freelancing world, and the existing approach is diverting time away from tasks that could increase the revenue they’re able to generate for themselves and the UK economy.’
Use of Productivity Tools
Under a quarter of freelancers (23%) use any kind of productivity apps on a daily basis. The findings indicate a lack of awareness of the different apps that are available to them. The survey has also found that cost is one of the biggest factors that freelancers consider when selecting productivity apps, with 70% indicating it as a top priority ahead of user experience (46%) and the company’s reputation (40%).
Kosovan concludes, ‘While some freelancers feel that they have the right tools available to them, there is clearly room for improvement in how they’re choosing and using the apps and software to get their admin done. Freelancers are flexible because of the nature of their work, so the tools that they use need to reflect that.’