A Freelancer’s guide to being sick

Filed by team twago on February 21, 2011

Excercise and fresh air are the best prevention - it doesn't have to be as crazy as in the picture

It is that time of the year again: winter, the cold, wet days and the constant change between your warm flat, the cold outside, overheated trains and so on. If a freelancer falls ill, every missed hour means the loss of money. That is why many freelancers are afraid of illness and find it difficult to ease up a bit when they get sick. We have asked several freelancers and, with their help, compiled a list of tips for when you become ill.

Most freelancers answered the question of what to do if you get sick with a simple: “Don’t get sick in the first place.” Generally, you should differentiate between a minor cold that can be cured with tea, lots of sleep and fresh air, and a serious disease that will put you out of commission.

The common cold

A brief sickness is usually unproblematic. As many freelancers work from home, they simply continue to work even if they fall ill. However, even from a minor illness you should make sure to recover completely before starting to work again. Otherwise, you might relapse in regular intervals, which in turn leads to the loss of more working hours and thereby to limited productivity. In such cases, you should take advantage of your home office and allow yourself to relax a little. Small tasks that don’t require your full attention and concentration are ideal for sick days. Our best advice for such cases: Medicate with one hot lemonade per day.

Should a deadline clash with the time of sickness, most clients will surely understand if the completion of their project is postponed for a few days. Two to three days should be compensable without major problems.

Nevertheless, prevention remains the best measure. Why not cycle instead of using public transport? It provides exercise and fresh air, and strengthens the immune system.

Long illness

With a prolonged bout of illness, the situation is an entirely different one. If you find yourself unable to work for a long period, it is important that you inform all of your current clients in time. On-going projects should be delayed if possible. If not, you have to find a solution together with your client. Freelancers usually have a large network at their disposal and have good contact to other freelancers. A Freelancer might be able to find someone willing to continue working on the project.

During a long sickness, it might be advisable to hire a virtual secretary, who takes phone calls and answers customer enquiries on your behalf. Of course, this is relevant for emails also.

Should you only be physically indisposed (i.e. a broken leg) there are now hospitals which offer wireless access. This allows you to read and write emails, pay bills, take care of accounting, and communicate with clients.

During the time that you are unable to work, profits will also decrease. You should therefore determine your hourly rates in a way that will keep you afloat for short periods of indisposition.

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team twago brings you the best news about working online as a freelancer and finding the right freelancer for your projects. You can find tips, tricks and guidelines for using the twago freelance platform, plus much more. Team twago is made up of native speakers from several countries.

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