Terri Bailey is Director of Culture Change and Wellbeing Services at NABS. She says, “In an ideal world, brands and agencies would support anyone who was working for them, especially if it’s on a regular basis or a long-term assignment. Humans are naturally tribal, so making a freelancer feel part of your ‘tribe’ during the times they are working for you will no doubt increase their motivation, engagement with the organisation and overall wellbeing. You will get better work from them as a result, so it’s a win-win.”
Where do the specifics come in? It’s important to recognise that freelancers experience certain pressures on their emotional and mental health on top of those shared with their permanent colleagues. For all of the benefits of freelance life there are some considerable pressures to navigate, as Mathew explains, “Taking on too much work, client pressure, the pain of chasing invoices, finding new business…Just one of those can be stressful, but combine all of those, add in feelings of loneliness and it’s a potential recipe for disaster.”
There’s a lot to unpick there, from the emotional to the financial aspects of a freelance career. Firstly, in order to provide the right kind of wellbeing support, it’s crucial to understand that the pressures faced by freelancers can overlap into each other and into emotional health. As Annabel McCaffrey, Head of Support at NABS explains, “It’s fair to say that one of the main reasons freelancers contact us is when they’re not getting paid by their client which, of course, impacts their wellbeing.”
The question, then, is how best can adland support its freelancers’ emotional health?