To pet or not to pet? Should I get a furry freelancer companion?

Pets in the Workplace

Freelancing is wonderful, it really is. You work on the jobs you want to work on, get paid the rate you want to be paid and work the hours you want to work. However, there is one great big downside that nearly all freelancers mention when asked: it’s lonely.

It’s why, if you go into any given coffee shop during the average working day you’ll see freelancers tapping away on their laptops, just to be around other people. Of course, there are other ways to ease solitude without spending £10 a day on flat whites and toasties. The most popular option? Get a pet.

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How have IR35 reforms affected contracting?

IR35

It’s been almost a year since the UK government’s controversial reforms to IR35 in the public sector and, with rumours of similar upheaval coming to the private sector in the future, we’re beginning to see the effects of the changes.

What were the reforms?

If you’re not a contractor working in the public sector, or if you’re a freelancer and haven’t had to deal with IR35, you may well have missed the finer details of the reforms. If you don’t know what IR35 is, first read our quick guide to bring yourself up to speed.

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Weekend Reading 13/04/18

Weekend Reading

It’s that time of the week again. See below for a few stories to read curled up by the fire / sitting out in the porch (delete dependent on weather) this weekend. We’re taking a look at the automotive and oil and gas industries, amongst a few others:

Jaguar Land Rover ‘to cut 1,000 jobs’ in Solihull

“Jaguar Land Rover is to shed 1,000 jobs and cut production at two sites, according to reports.

The carmaker said it would make an announcement to employees on Monday regarding its production plans for 2018/19.

It added: “In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some adjustments to our production schedules and the level of agency staff.”

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Weekend Reading – 06/04/18

Weekend Reading

Improved digital connectivity is essential to the growth of freelancing and contracting in the UK. That’s why this week’s 5G auction, and the ensuing bidding war, is good news for all concerned. We take a look at that, and some other topics of interest, in this week’s Weekend Reading.

O2 splashes £500m in 5G spectrum auction to remove obstacle to blockbuster float

“The mobile operator O2 has spent more than half a billion pounds to bolster its network and prepare for the introduction of 5G technology, in a vote of confidence by its Spanish owner Telefonica viewed as essential to plans for a blockbuster stock market float.

The telecoms regulator Ofcom said an auction of mobile airwaves had raised a total of £1.4bn from Britain’s four main operators.”

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Weekend Reading – 29/03/18

Contractor News

Read on for this week’s news round-up. We’re taking a look at a variety of topics, from IR35 and Brexit to the banking and finance industry:

Businesses face unanswered questions a year from Brexit – sector by sector analysis

“With only a year to go until Britain leaves the EU, a mounting backlog of unresolved problems is causing business to take evasive action – despite government attempts to buy more time with a transition deal.

More than half of large companies have already put emergency contingency plans into action, according to a survey, and in key sectors such as insurance and transport there are warnings of higher prices and disruption for customers if the fragile truce breaks down.

British and EU governments last week agreed to postpone discussions over Northern Ireland in order to provisionally agree that a 21-month transition phase could begin after March 2019, but only so long as outstanding disagreements are solved nearer the time.”

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Weekend Reading – 23/03/18

Kingsbridge News

We’ll be rounding up a selection of interesting stories we’ve found once a week for your reading pleasure. Click on the links below to read the full article.

Ikea rolls out nationwide assembly services with TaskRabbit

“The Swedish furniture retailer announced plans on Tuesday to roll out a program with labor marketplace TaskRabbit nationwide. Customers can book a “tasker” through TaskRabbit to assemble their Ikea furniture for a flat price depending on the size of the item.

The service is currently available in New York City and San Francisco locations and will be released in more major cities throughout the year. Customers also may signup for the service online in locations where TaskRabbit is already available.”

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Why was the Spring Statement so short?

Spring Statement

Although it came in at slightly over the previously estimated 20 minutes last week’s Spring Statement was still a refreshing departure from the normal bluster that surrounds political policy announcements. But why was it so trimmed down?

No major policy changes

Normally, government Budget announcements are awash with fiscal policy changes and everything from income tax to duty paid on a pint of lager can be up for a rethink. However, 2018 has seen the start of a new format, where the Spring Statement will be reserved for responses to OBR data alongside a few key updates. The Autumn Budget (which usually takes place in November) will be where all of the major financial changes will be put forward. On the whole, this was borne out yesterday with little-to-no mention of policy, other than references to reform and legislation that had already previously been announced.

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How contractors and freelancers can get into shape for the new tax year

Contractor Tax Tips

While it’s vital to make sure you’re prepared for the end of this tax year, it’s also good practice for contractors and freelancers to make sure they’re in shape for the next tax year too. A bit of organisation and preparation can save you time later on, making the whole Self-Assessment process much easier.

At Kingsbridge, we’ve been helping contractors with their insurance needs for a long time, so we like to think we’re in good position to provide some advice. So, let us share our tips for how to get yourself into shape for the 2018/2019 tax year.

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Protecting Your Business From Cyber Attacks

Protecting Your Business

Anyone with half an eye on the news in recent months will have noticed the increased spate of cyber attacks taking place. A recent report from the Association of British Insurers noted that 74% of SMEs are reported to have suffered a security breach in the past 12 months alone.

What does this have to do with me, you might ask? You work for yourself. You don’t have to worry about multinational IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Individual workers are often the weakest link in the security chain. A recent IBM investigation noted that 95% of cyber security breaches are down to human error. With cyber crime quickly becoming a multifaceted, dynamic and constantly evolving threat to security it’s imperative that you protect yourself.

Most small business owners don’t take cyber security seriously. They think that their business is too small to attract the attention of a hacker. That laissez-faire attitude, however, is exactly the reason why 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses – hackers are aware that most SMEs don’t invest in cyber security. How can you protect your business from attacks? Here are a few of our top tips:

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A Brief History of Cyber Attacks

Cyber Liability

When it comes to cyber attacks, it’s often only the big corporation on the receiving end of the breach that makes the headlines. What people don’t often consider is the long chain of risk that generally allows such attacks to happen in the first place.

Although the entry point for any breach often remains undisclosed, it is generally an individual at ground level who is most fallible. In fact, a recent Verizon study identified that 77% of data breaches involved an insider, whilst a recent IBM investigation noted that 95% of cyber security breaches are down to human error.

That’s why we always recommend that you take out adequate insurance cover if you work in any area that could be digitally vulnerable.

Don’t take our word for it though. Read on below for some examples of the most notorious cyber attacks to happen in the 21st century.

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