Working while on holiday: the great summer debate

Working on Holiday

In the days before smartphones, tablets, laptops and wi-fi it never used to be an issue, but now that everyone is connected every single second of every single day the question of whether or not to work while on holiday has become a bit of an issue.

When you’re an employee the decision isn’t quite so difficult to make. Quite often, before you leave to go on holiday, you handover any outstanding work to someone else, people ask will you be reachable, and you tell them yes or no (let’s face it, it’s nearly always no). However, when you’re a contractor or freelancer, it can be a bit more complex. For one thing, there’s quite often no one to hand your work over to so anything outstanding will still be sitting there when you get back. Not doing any work for a week or two will generally mean just not getting paid, and it can also prevent you from sourcing new clients.

All that being said, you’re a human being and, like everyone else, you need time to refresh and recharge. So, what are the pros and cons of working while on holiday?

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Getting more family time as a contractor or freelancer

Family Time

Between the World Cup, the constant stream of headlines about cabinet reshuffles, and the incredible rescue of the trapped boys in Thailand in July, you’d have been forgiven if you’d forgotten that the school summer holidays were right around the corner.

Now that those six weeks of no school are here many of us are reminded that we’d really like to be able to spend more time with our kids while they’re off (we also know that this is not true for all of us, all of the time and that’s fine too).

If you have a conventional nine-to-five job, this isn’t always the easiest thing. To spend time with the kids you need to use what precious little annual leave you have in reserve, and it’s not always easy to do during the summer holidays as everyone else has the same idea. So quite often the summer holidays go by with grandparents being the only people to spend any quality time with youngsters.

Of course, family time is one of the biggest motivators for people wanting to become self-employed. Most people want more of it and know that being their own boss is one of the best ways to get it.

But how do you make it work?

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Juggling school summer holidays and self-employment

Summer Holidays

While the school summer holidays are an amazing chance to spend more time with our kids – and those of us with youngsters will probably take a week or two off during this period to do just that – there are also a lot of childcare issues raised for those whose children are normally in school full time.

It can be a particular problem if you’re a contractor or freelancer who regularly works from home. Suddenly there are extra people in the house making noise and vying for your attention when you really need to finish that project by the deadline.

So, what can be done?

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Kingsbridge Introduces 1-Year Run-Off Cover

Run-Off Cover

When it comes to insurance, we understand that it’s a purchase most people want to make use of when they need it but think very little about when they don’t. If you’re a contractor it’s likely to be an essential part of your working life. But what happens when you down tools, or move into standard employment?

Most contractors assume that the end of a contract means the end of any liability. Unfortunately, that’s not actually the case. Claims can be made for months, or even years, after work has been completed.

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GDPR for contractors and freelancers: have you missed anything?

GDPR

We’ve updated our privacy policy.

Before you chuck your laptop or tablet across the room, don’t worry – we’re just kidding. Well, we have updated it, but that’s not what this blog is about.

We’re not telling you what you need to do if you want us to be able to stay in touch, but rather making sure you know how, as a contractor or freelancer, GDPR might have affected you and how it could affect your business if you don’t take action.

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How to be a more environmentally conscious contractor or freelancer

Environmentally Conscious

Whether it’s banning baby wipes, putting a tax on plastic bottles or Iceland removing plastic packaging and palm oil from their own brand ranges, it seems everyone is thinking more and more about the environment at the moment. And quite rightly too. We should all be doing our bit to clean up the planet and start reversing the damage humans have done over the centuries.

When you’re an employee, it’s quite easy. Most businesses have environmental policies that ensure all workers help keep the office green. But when you’re a contractor or freelancer, it’s up to you and you alone to do your bit when you’re not in a client’s workspace.

So how can you easily make sure you’re being more environmentally conscious? Here are our top tips.

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IR35 Trouble? We’ve got the cover for you

IR35

Regular readers of this blog will know that we’ve covered IR35 fairly extensively in the recent past. Whether we’re talking about the ins and outs of what it actually is or highlighting examples of contractors who’ve fallen foul of the legislation, we like to think of it as a subject we know well.

But there’s only so much talking we can do. Sometimes action has to be taken. That’s why we’ve recently introduced our Legal Expenses Plus policy, our cover designed to help you should you find yourself in the midst of an IR35 investigation.

An IR35 investigation is not something any contractor wants on their plate. Regardless of whether you’re found to be inside IR35 or not, it’s time consuming, stressful, and a likely drain on finances given the amount of effort you’ll have to put into defending yourself.

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IR35 IRL – How much will getting caught cost you?

IR35

There was a time when IR35 was something of a bogeyman to contractors. Tall tales and horror stories. Lurking in the shadows. A looming spectre, but never quite tangible enough to make you feel its presence. Those days are over. Gone are the 1 in 60,000 odds of being caught.

In the last 18 months or so HMRC has ramped up its campaign to catch contractors working as disguised employees and therefore inside IR35. Need more proof? We’ve rounded up a few of the more prominent cases below.

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Everything a Contractor Needs to Know About IR35

IR35

IR35. Two letters. Two numbers. It might not seem like much, but it should be at the forefront of any contractor’s thoughts. Not understanding the implications of IR35 could be the difference between a trouble-free working existence and a huge, potentially business-ending, fine.

If you work in the public sector there’s a good chance you’ve already felt the sting of the recent reforms which have left independent workers at the likes of the NHS and BBC up in arms at their treatment.

Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that the same reforms will roll out to the private sector in the near future, after an upcoming consultation due to be released this year. Given how prevalent the legislation is likely to become, it’s important that contractors make sure they know as much as possible.

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Top tips for organising your home office

Home Office Tips

As a contractor or freelancer – particularly if you’re a freelancer – you’ll spend a fair amount of time working from your home office. This will vary from person to person, of course, but most people have either a room or a section of a room in their house that they dedicate to work.

It’s not like working in an office where people will tell you where things get filed or how your space should look. Instead, it’s up to you. At Kingsbridge, we’ve picked up lots of tips from our self-employed clients over the years so we thought we’d share a few of our favourites in this blog.

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