After a year of working from home, socialising on Zoom and cutting our own hair, the end of lockdown is finally in sight. Unlike the disaster of my housemate’s “Zooey Deschanel inspired” fringe, this time lockdown easing seems to have been planned with caution and based on careful evidence. The NHS is making great progress in delivering the vaccine and the forecast is that everyone over 30 will be vaccinated by the end of next month. As more people are vaccinated and cases come down, society is slowly opening up, following the government’s road map. As part of this, more and more people are returning to the office. But COVID-19 is still a very real threat, particularly if you’ve not yet had your vaccine or are still waiting for your second dose. Being able to open up and enjoy beer gardens, BBQs and beaches this summer depends on us all playing our part to keep case numbers low. We take a look at what freelancers can do to stay safe as we ease out of lockdown.
Stay at home
The official advice still remains that if you can work from home, you should. This isn’t set to change until late June at the very earliest and is likely to be one of the last things to return to normal. So, tempting as it might be to go into an office and see actual real people for a change, you should only do this if you absolutely have to. If you do have to make site visits or see clients face-to-face, you could try and do it outside as much as possible. But if you can, try and hold tight on working from home for just a few more months. We know you can do this – we freelancers were living the solo pyjama-clad working-from-home lifestyle before it was government-mandated!
Take care on your commute
If you do have to go out to work, try and make your journey there as safe as possible. Avoid public transport if you can, keeping it free for keyworker journeys and giving everyone who has no other option more space and safety (including our transport workers). If driving in your own vehicle isn’t an option, you could always try to keep your working hours flexible to help you avoid rush hour journeys and busy lines on the tube. Walking or cycling to work can also help you replace some of those lost hours in the gym.
Ask to see the venue’s COVID-secure policies
If you do head to the office, ask the client in advance for a copy of their COVID-secure guidelines and risk assessments, and make sure you follow them at all times while on-site. When you arrive take some time to familiarise yourself with any signs and markings that indicate which desks are in use or one-way systems to follow. Ask where the hand-washing facilities are and use them when you arrive, before you leave, and before you eat. If you’re using any shared equipment like computers or phones, then sanitise them before and after use. Make sure you maintain social distance from colleagues and clients and definitely leave the handshakes off the table for now.
Stock up on PPE
If you’ll be travelling about, meeting clients, or visiting any indoor business premise, make sure that you go prepared with the right PPE. We all know the drill by now – hand sanitiser in pocket, a supply of clean face masks, fresh tissues, and some gloves if you’re heading to a high-touch environment.
Keep your business safe too
While we’re on the subject of risk…Dinghy insurance is specially tailored to protect freelancers and their businesses from some of the major risks of self-employment. We offer a set of flexible policies that provide all the cover a freelancer needs, so you can stop worrying and focus on your business. Professional indemnity insurance is there in case something goes wrong with a piece of work that you do for a client that causes them to suffer a loss – such as a mistake or giving bad advice. Public liability insurance offers protection if you accidentally injure someone or cause damage to property in the course of your job. Business equipment insurance is there to cover the value of the essential tools of your job: your laptop, phone, and any other equipment that belongs to your business. All of this is supported by our unique Freelancer Assist service which will support you with legal and tax matters and help you chase unpaid invoices. With these in place, freelancers can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that Dinghy has the risk covered. Because we understand that freelance life can be full of uncertainty, our policies are fully flexible and can be paused at the click of a button. We only bill you for the cover you need, and you won’t be hit with any nasty hidden charges or admin fees – just simple, transparent monthly payments with no interest. To find out more or get a super-fast quote, head over to our website.