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 could the TSB chaos have affected contractors and freelancers?

TSB Crisis

Spoiler alert: the answer is “significantly”.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave on Mars for the last week-and-a-bit, you can’t have failed to hear about the ongoing chaos at TSB as they attempted to migrate customer records from their old Lloyds TSB system to their new one.

If you’re not a TSB customer or an IT contractor, you may well have only given the story a fleeting glance. If so, you can bring yourself up to speed with the BBC’s timeline of events. Otherwise, all you really need to know is that all did not go as planned. There have been numerous problems including customers not having access to their accounts online, over the phone or in-branch, payments in and out of accounts not going through, and people being able to access accounts that were not their own.

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Why a home office spring clean can be essential for contractors and freelancers

Spring Cleaning

Despite appearances (until recently, at least) spring really is here and that means one thing: spring cleaning.

You’ve probably already given a thought to spring cleaning your home, getting your garden into order and perhaps even giving your car a thorough scrub inside and out. But have you really given any thought to your home office? Obviously, you’ve probably considered giving it a dust and a vacuum, but what about a proper, honest-to-goodness spring clean where you clean, tidy, organise, throw out stuff you don’t need and replace things that require replacing?

We’ve put together a list of reasons why you should bother.

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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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GDPR – What does it Mean for Contractors?

GDPR Contractors

Cyber-attacks have become more prevalent than ever in the last 12 months. A recent report from the National Cyber Security Centre noted that there had been over 1,100 attacks in the UK last year, of which over half (590) were deemed significant. 30 of those attacks, a number of which were in the Financial Services Sector, required assistance from government bodies.

To put it in even starker terms, the UK deals with more than 10 significant cyber-attacks every week – and that’s only taking into account those which were reported. Unfortunately, such attacks must now be considered par for the course when it comes to business, and we need to ensure that we are all prepared to deal with them.

With the much-discussed General Data Protection Regulation (better known by its acronym GDPR) coming into force on 25th May 2018 we’re taking a look at what exactly the implications will be for contractors and freelancers. How can you make sure you’re GDPR-ready?

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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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