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Planning for holidays as a freelancer

More and more people are moving towards freelance work - recent research suggests that the U.K. is experiencing the greatest shift into self-employment in decades - that means more people taking control of their work and stepping up to be their own boss! The public’s perception of freelancing is changing, too. Whilst self-employment used to be seen as a somewhat precarious lifestyle without the stability of company employment, we are realising the vast benefits of working freelance - the foremost being flexibility, and control over our time and pay rate. That means being paid the rate you deserve, and working the hours you need.

Freelancing and flexibility

Brigaders who’re working freelance in the hospitality and healthcare industries know better than most about the great reasons to work freelancing - aside from flexibility and control, freelancing in these industries is a great way for workers to meet their mentors. With Brigad’s freelance working model, it’s never been easier for workers to get experience across the sector with many, many different restaurants, bars and hotels, across cuisines and countries. What’s not to like?  

And yet, whilst the flexibility of freelance work is the number one reason people have switched to self-employment, there is one issue that all of us will encounter: no holiday pay. Freelancers have the luxury of working when they want, but this is at a sacrifice for paid holidays. Working for a company normally includes vacation days - this means you will continue to be paid regardless of where you are - a week spent sunning on the beach, sipping cocktails, and you’re still on company time. Good stuff.

But it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to holidaying as a freelancer - it just requires a little extra planning, and you might end up with more time on holiday than you ever would in a contract.

Holidaying as a freelancer

Let’s get the obvious out of the way - freelancing does not mean less holidays. We all know that the self-employed are the type to have more vacation times than anyone. Whilst company employment gives us the luxury of being paid on holiday, freelance work gives us the luxury of taking as much holiday as we like. Brigaders can block out hours whenever they need, this avoids the process of filling in ‘paid time out’ requests. How many times have we tried taking holiday time to be told by our managers that they ‘could really do with us being in on that day?’ Freelancers need not worry about this. Need a day off for a weekday wedding? No problem. Fancy a long weekend? Take Monday off! Overworked and in need of some rest and relaxation? Just block out the hours and the time is yours to keep. No fuss, and it really is that easy.

The problem is how we freelancers factor holidays into our routine, because, at the end of the day, if we’re on holiday, we’re not getting paid. Freelancers in the hospitality industry will feel this more than anyone - the work requires workers to be at work, in the kitchen, behind the bar - they can’t be on a family holiday and whip out a laptop to fill in a few extra hours. The stress of not being paid for our holiday days can cause many freelancers to avoid taking holiday altogether. How many small business owners do you know who’ll work day in, day out, seven days a week? How often do those same people say “I can’t afford a holiday!” In reality, we all need holiday time to avoid burnout, so what steps can we take to make holidaying stress-free for freelancers?  

Top tips for holidaying freelancers

Communication

The most important thing to remember is to keep your clients informed. Communication is key when it comes to business, to ensure that your clients want to stick to working with you let them know when you’ll be available well in advance. They’ll understand that you need time away, giving them advance notice means they can factor you into their routine.

Consistency

Another top tip for keeping a good relationship with your clients is to be sensible when booking holidays. Don’t expect a client to hang around if you’re off holidaying at every moment - and whilst we all would love to head off to the Maldives for a month - consistent work equals consistent availability. If you want to work with clients regularly, then make sure you’re available regularly, especially at peak times of the year!

Freelancers in hospitality should always avoid holidaying at peak times like Christmas and Easter, and clients will always appreciate workers who are available when they need them most. At the end of the day, clients will offer an inflated rate in times of inflated demands - this means you can work the busiest times of the year for more money, then holiday when business is quieter. And we all know that holidays at quiet times are better anyway - it means secluded beaches and discounted hotels!

Everyone needs a vacation, even freelancers

For those feeling guilty about taking a holiday, keeping track of our hours can help us feel a little better about vacationing. If you’re still feeling guilty about taking a holiday, consider working overtime for a few weeks prior to your vacation, those extra hours and extra jobs might just cover the loss of earnings for the week. Moreover, If you’re working more than full-time hours but you can’t afford a day, then that says more about budgeting than time allowance. Consider upskilling to earn a higher rate if you can’t afford time off - clients who appreciate your work will more than likely match a price hike, especially if you’ve kept up great communication!

At the end of the day, we all deserve a vacation. Good work only happens if the worker is well-rested and relaxed, and we need time away from our jobs to get a good rest! Ensure you plan for holidays - flexibility is a freelance worker's greatest asset, make sure you make the most of it! Start today and plan for time off from work, try to relax and take some time for yourself.  

Working with Brigad makes getting time off easier than ever before, simply block out the hours you want to take off, and that’s that. Easy, no fuss, and no worries.

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