Contracting Life

Working while on holiday: the great summer debate

In the days before smartphones, tablets, laptops and wi-fi it never used to be an issue, but now that everyone…

Author Photo by Kingsbridge

In the days before smartphones, tablets, laptops and wi-fi it never used to be an issue, but now that everyone is connected every single second of every single day the question of whether or not to work while on holiday has become a bit of an issue.

When you’re an employee the decision isn’t quite so difficult to make. Quite often, before you leave to go on holiday, you handover any outstanding work to someone else, people ask will you be reachable, and you tell them yes or no (let’s face it, it’s nearly always no).

However, when you’re a contractor or freelancer, it can be a bit more complex. For one thing, there’s quite often no one to hand your work over to so anything outstanding will still be sitting there when you get back. Not doing any work for a week or two will generally mean just not getting paid, and it can also prevent you from sourcing new clients.

All that being said, you’re a human being and, like everyone else, you need time to refresh and recharge. So, what are the pros and cons of working while on holiday?

Pros of working on holiday

  1. First and foremost, you keep the money coming. You’re not going to lose any income because of time taken off.
  2. You also can continue to build relationships and source new business, ensuring it’s waiting for you when you return home.
  3. Working on holiday means you’re clearing work from your to-do list rather than letting it accumulate for when you return.
  4. You can enjoy the parts of your holiday where you aren’t working completely guilt-free.
  5. Since you state your own hours, you can still get plenty of rest and relaxation.

Cons of working on holiday

  1. Firstly, it’s a holiday. You’re not meant to be working, you’re meant to be enjoying time with your friends or family and recharging your batteries. Working isn’t remotely conducive to this.
  2. Yes, you might lose some income while you’re away, but there are ways around this such as working extended hours before you go. Doing this can also reduce your to-do list so you aren’t worried about returning to a big pile of work.
  3. You can enjoy your entire holiday guilt-free. Why should you feel guilty about taking time off work? You work hard all year round and you deserve a break away for a week or two.
  4. You can get plenty of relaxation knowing work is far, far away.

Are there any compromises to be made?

If you can’t decide between the two camps, perhaps a compromise is for you. One technique that can work well is to not work per se, but to set aside a few minutes each day just to quickly check your emails. You can respond to anything urgent (although let them know you’re on holiday), archive anything that’s not important and leave anything else flagged to be dealt with when you get home. That way you still enjoy your holiday but don’t get inbox-anxiety when you return home.

Before you jet off, make sure your contractor insurance is in place for when you get back. You can call our team on 01242 808740.

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