The pros and cons of flexible workspaces

Flexible Workspaces

Not that long back, not working from the office meant, instead, working from home or, maybe, a library. Then came the coffee shops with their free WiFi and the idea of more flexible workspaces began to gather pace, cumulating in the more formal co-working spaces now available in most cities across the UK. These offer WiFi, food services, printing facilities, meeting rooms, virtual office services and the company of other freelancers, and latest research has shown that these workspaces are growing in popularity with no sign of tailing off.

Contractor Umbrella reports that forecasts suggest there will soon be more than 20,000 co-working spaces globally and this number will reach 25,968 by 2022. That’s 56% growth in 2018 alone and an average of 2,500 new spaces popping up per year since 2015. Last year, a new flexible workspace opened in London every five days.

But what are the pros and cons of using these spaces?

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Why the freelance creative sector is thriving

Creative Freelancers

It’s official. The UK’s creative sector is thriving after £1.1 billion in support from the Government in the form of tax reliefs.

Award-winning, water-cooler-moment TV series Killing Eve is just one such to benefit from them, and since they were introduced 2,955 films, 485 TV productions and 1,075 videogames have also benefitted. Meanwhile museums and galleries have benefitted from an exhibitions tax relief that has allowed them to host 300 exhibitions across the country.

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More and more young people are looking to self-employment

Young Self Employed

Contracting is often thought of the arena of people further on in their careers, when they’ve built networks and gained enough experience to be considered experts in their field. However, that looks set to change with recent research by AAT and Survation revealing that 43% of 16-24 year olds have the ambition to set up their own business during their working life.

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Fall into better habits

Fall Into Better Habits

It was the Autumnal Equinox on 23 September and with children returning to school and a general feeling of new starts everywhere, what better time to reassess your habits and fall (ahem!) into better ones? By habits we do, of course, mean your freelancer habits which, let’s face it, can easily become neglected. And once they’re neglected, they can actually become a hindrance to your freelance business.

So, which habits likely need a look at and what should best practice look like? The Kingsbridge team has put together some of the ones we hear about most often.

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Employing your partner: What you need to know

Employing a Partner

It’s fairly commonplace these days for contractors to employ their spouse or partner to assist them – often in an administrative role. It makes sense on a number of levels:

  • The admin work (bookkeeping, filing, schedule planning, invoice chasing, etc.) that you would otherwise have to do in your spare time can be done by someone else during work hours, freeing up time for your whole family.
  • It means these tasks can be done from your home, rather than you having to provide an office space for someone else to work.
  • It can provide significant tax benefits as it transfers some of your income to your partner. If he or she pays tax at a lower rate than you do, or if they have unused personal tax allowance, this is likely to create a tax saving for you and your household.

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How can contractors prepare for Brexit?

Contractor Brexit

We’d understand if this is seen by some of you as a trick question. After all, when no one, right down to the Prime Minister, seems to have the foggiest idea what’s going on from one day to the next, how is the average contractor meant to be able to prepare?

Well, even in the midst of all the Brexit uncertainty, believe it or not, there are still things you can do. But, first, let’s take a look at what’s changed for contractors already since the 2016 referendum.

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What does trust mean as a contractor?

Customer Trust

We recently saw a report on a survey compiled by CV-Library which revealed the most and least trusted professions in the UK. 1,200 UK workers were surveyed and the results were intriguing.

Most trusted

  1. Doctor (61.3%)
  2. Nurse (40%)
  3. Teacher (36.9%)
  4. Paramedic (36.5%)
  5. Police (23.2%)
  6. Armed forces (20.8%)
  7. Vet (16%)
  8. Scientist (14.3%)
  9. Judge (13.2%)
  10. Hairdresser (8.4%)

It seems that we associate trust with professions that are there to protect our best interests (73.4%), are there for a good cause (71%), are reliable (64.5%) and are friendly (16.2%). With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see vocational roles topping the list, particularly those based in healthcare, education and law enforcement.

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We’re all going on a summer holiday – unless you’re a freelancer

Freelancer Holiday

It’s that time of year again. Everyone in the office is telling you where they’re going on their summer holidays. Kerry from Finance is off to Florida, Matt from IT is heading to Ibiza, and Jane from HR is going on a cruise around the Greek islands.

And you? Well, you’re a freelancer so if you can scrape together three or four days off together and all of your invoices are paid on time, you might be able to nab a long weekend somewhere. But wouldn’t it be nice to jet off on a holiday for a week or, dare we say, a fortnight? It might not seem possible with the busy, sometimes hectic, life of a freelancer, but we have some tips to help you on your way.

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Think cyber criminals don’t bother with small businesses? Think again.

Cyber Crime

It seems to be a regular news fixture: large, well-known companies suffer massive data breaches where personal data is obtained by hackers. The type of business and nature of the data often changes, but the stories are always connected through how instantly recognisable the businesses involved are.

So, you’d be forgiven for thinking that as a small business you’d be safe from the interest of hackers. However, the truth is very different. According to the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. In fact, attacks on small businesses make up the largest share of attacks in the report.

This suggests that small business owners are lacking in the resources and knowledge required to prevent such attacks, especially when we consider that 21% of the breaches were caused by error, while 15% were caused by misuse.

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The cost of (not having) contractor insurance

Insurance

Contractor insurance can seem like a right headache to sort out. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly a glamorous expense. But you need to have it to satisfy agencies and clients, so you figure you’ll just go for the cheapest premium you can find and that’ll be that.

After all, you’ll never need to use it, will you?

Well… While we would hope your business runs completely smoothly and you never need to use it, experience tells us that some people do have to make claims. Unfortunately, if you’ve opted for a cheaper policy, this can be where you discover to your detriment that you get what you pay for.

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