How to tackle your commute as lockdown eases
What this means for contractors will depend entirely on sector and skillset. If your client is returning to the workplace and they wish you to resume your project, then the advice from the government is to continue working from home if you can. However, if your role requires you to be on site then you may find yourself travelling to and from your client as you were before lockdown.
The thing that seems to have most people worried in this instance is the commute, especially with the government advice being to only use public transport as a last resort. So, how can you tackle your commute to your client during the lockdown easing period?
It's tempting to say that if your client was close enough to walk to, you'd have been doing that already, but many people choose to drive or use public transport to travel walkable distances for a variety of reasons British weather being a big one. If you can walk to your client then it's well worth considering. After all, it's easy to social distance, it's free, and it's good for you and the environment. Just make sure you have a decent waterproof coat and some comfy walking shoes - you can always change into different shoes on arrival if required.
Last week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced £250 million for pop-up cycle lanes around the country to encourage people to cycle to and from work during this period, and it's certainly worth considering. After the initial outlay for a bike, helmet, and other safety equipment if you don't already have it, it's free on a day-to-day basis. It's also very healthy, green, and it will help you keep your distance from others. Additional cycle lanes will make it safer, although we would advise brushing up on The Highway Code for cyclists before you get started.
Not the greenest or healthiest method of commute out there, but driving is an ideal way to distance yourself from others and is much safer from COVID-19 contagion than public transport if your commute is too long for cycling or walking. Do bear in mind that social distancing may be difficult in busy city centre car parks so if you would normally park somewhere like that, it may be worth looking at parking on the outskirts of the city and walking for the last mile or so if you are able. Remember that car sharing with anyone from outside your household would not be permitted. The government has also been advising drivers that they should be watchful for more and inexperienced cyclists as well as increased numbers of pedestrians.
If you have no other option then, and only then, should public transport be considered. Keep in mind that you may need to allow longer for your commute as trains and buses should be practicing social distancing and therefore allowing less people on. Some providers may also be operating limited timetables. Advice from the government includes embarking one stop later and disembarking one stop earlier than usual, as well as wearing face coverings while in enclosed spaces such as buses and train carriages.
If you do not feel you can commute safely, it is always worth talking to your client about your options such as only coming in when necessary and working from home the rest of the time the beauty of working for yourself is being able to choose when and where you work, and there's never been a better time to exercise that right. Keeping yourself and those around you safe and well is the most important thing.