Contractors: Are you prepared for the end of lockdown?
It’s been a long time coming but at last, we’re nearly there. With the vaccine rollout reaching those aged 40 and over, and the final two stages of the lockdown easing schedule set to launch on 17th May and 21st June respectively, things are looking good. Although we’ll have to live with the effects of the pandemic for a long time to come (and we’re not 100% out of the woods yet), life can be said to be returning to something like normal.
This means that the big question for contractors is: are you ready for it? You may well have clients lined up and work set to re-start, but there are lots of little things you’ll need to do to make sure you’re prepared, including some that you may have taken for granted or have not even considered. So, why not grab a cuppa and read through our list of things you’ll need to prepare so that you’re not caught short on your first day back.
Dress for success
We’ve had to take our positives where we can get them for the last year, and not having to put on work clothes has certainly been one of them. Loungewear has become the main staple of most of our wardrobes, complete with loose fits and elasticated waists. But now the time has come to return to offices and other places of work, so we need to go back to our business wear. Now is a good time to have a quick look through your wardrobe and check if everything is still suitable. If anything was getting a bit worn-out pre-lockdown, chances are it still needs repairing or replacing. And you’ll also want to make sure everything fits as you could well have lost or gained a bit of weight over the last year or so – you want to be comfortable as well as smart, at the end of the day.
One key question to ask yourself is how you’re going to get to work. If you cycle, is your bike in good working order? Do you have all of the right safety equipment? If you drive, the same goes for your car: is it serviced? MOT up to date? Is it insured? If you declared it off the road during lockdown, have you reversed that? Do you need a parking pass or do you have free or pay-as-you-go parking? If you use public transport, have you got everything you need to renew your railcard or bus pass? Have you read the COVID safety measures? Have you checked if timetables have changed? Don’t get caught out on your first day back because your car won’t start or your train is now 15 minutes earlier than it used to be. Get everything sorted in advance to give yourself peace of mind.
It’s probably a good idea to check in with your client to see what their expectations are. For instance, would they prefer you to continue working from home or is there a requirement for you to be at their office some or all the time? If they need you to be in the office, do they expect or require you to take part in regular lateral flow testing before you come in? Of course, this may be something you wish to do anyway and you can order a kit to your home for free or you can visit your nearest lateral flow testing centre. You may also want to ask them what COVID secure measures they have in place and if there are any specific PPE requirements that you need to follow.
The whole kit and caboodle
If you’ve not worked during the pandemic, your work equipment could well have been sitting there untouched for 12 months or more. This could be your work phone, your laptop, or equipment specific to your role (particularly if you’re in a sector such as engineering or media and creative where you’ll likely have your own technical equipment). You’ll want to check, firstly, that any flat batteries are charged or replaced and then check that everything is updated and working properly. You don’t want to begin your highly specialised technical project only to discover one of your highly specialised tools isn’t working, so check now while there is time to repair or replace it. If you have separate insurance for any of your tools or gadgets, make sure it’s up to date and providing you with enough cover.
Speaking of business insurance…
Again, if you’ve not been working during lockdown, you may well have let your business insurance lapse to save money, but now is absolutely the time to renew it and ensure it’s in place. Most contracts specify that a contractor should have a certain level of public liability, professional indemnity, and employers’ liability cover, and even if you don’t already have a client lined up, being insured in preparation will give you an advantage when it comes to being recruited. If you’re a previous Kingsbridge customer or have had a quote from us since 1st April 2020, and you purchase a public liability or professional indemnity package with us before 31st May 2021 you will receive a £40 e-Gift Card, and you can also delay your first payment by up to 60 days. Simply register here to take advantage of the offer (terms and conditions apply).