British Summer Time: Enjoying summer as a contractor

19th March 2017

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As British Summer Time approaches this coming weekend, we can look forward to longer and lighter days as well as warmer temperatures. As temperatures increase and sunlight exposure becomes more prolonged, all of us can also benefit from enriched health, mood and productivity with scientific research showing that extra intake of Vitamin D from increased sun exposure, can boost your immune system and improve circulation and sleep patterns.

In any employment environment, we should make our best efforts to reap the health and well-being efforts of what British Summer Time can bring if it means booking some deserved time off for rest and recreation, going outdoors more, or spending more quality time with their family.

The contracting industry sits in a unique position when thinking of the British summer. The flexibility it allows means contractors have the potential to tailor their work schedule in a way that suits them and leaves them to enjoy the perks of summer time.

But what practises can the contractor community take to get the most out of summer and enjoy that work and family balance that can be most important during these coming summer months?

Don’t Leave Yourself Short

In an ideal world, all contractors would love to take the whole of summer off, or at least a large chunk of it. This isn’t impossible, but contractors need to be aware that should they decide to take this much time off, they need to be financially prepared for it.  

Not having the worry of finance on your mind will allow you to enjoy the summer months with ease. To do this, think carefully about how best to prepare yourself financially for a few months off work. Think about how much time you’d ideally like to take off and factor this in when arranging any contract opportunities before you take this holiday time. Perhaps you only want to take two months off for example; think how long your contract needs to be before these two months are taken. How long in advance will you need to arrange this contract for yourself? What kind of remuneration will this contract need to be?  Planning and timing is key and understanding what amount of finances you need to be comfortable, will also be vitally important.

Maintain that work/life balance accordingly

During the summer months, there is ample opportunity to enjoy some quality time with your family and loved ones. With the great weather, six-week school holidays and numerous social invites that will be extended your way; it is important to enjoy this time and not be bound to a rigid Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 routine.

Aim to adopt a flexible approach to your work as a contractor.  If you’ve got children, try to make time for them during the six-week holiday even if it means not working a few days or arranging your contract commitments at times that fit more in to your children’s schedules and habits.

With the summer holidays in full flow, you and your family might want to take a few long weekend breaks to gain some down time. Fit this into your work plans accordingly.  This might mean not working the Thursday and Friday which are days when your place of work gets less hectic.

Maintaining a healthy work and life balance is extremely important and even more so during the summer holidays, so don’t be afraid to embrace flexibility in your approach to contracting.

Get outside!

Don’t be a slave to the four walls of your office. During your work day, try to take advantage of the great weather outside during the summer. Whether it’s a longer and more relaxing lunch taken outside or a quick ten minutes just outside of your office space. We’ve already mentioned the great health benefits sunshine can bring so soaking up the warmer temperatures for a bit will keep you feeling refreshed and your mood buoyant.

Don’t overwork yourself!

One of the great perks of contracting is the flexibility it can give your life. Any contractor burning the midnight oil is not experiencing the full benefits of contracting and could be doing themselves a disservice long term. The summer is your chance to enjoy yourself and re-energise for the months ahead. Overworking yourself in the office during the summer months will only deplete you and once winter comes around, you won’t be ready physically for any contracts that lie ahead. This is your chance to relax and recharge, so take control of your contracting life this summer.

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