While, as a proud global employment organization here at Link Global Management, we would much prefer to impart advice on such matters as tax and payroll than make health recommendations, there is no doubt that the current Covid-19 pandemic is forcing many independent workers to reassess whether they are doing everything possible to protect themselves and others.
Indeed, the situation may be especially urgent for many of the contractors that we serve, given the uniquely vulnerable situation of independent professionals.
So, what are the steps that you are advised to take?
Although we are not, of course, health professionals, useful advice to contractors was recently provided by Dr Iain Campbell, secretary-general of the Independent Health Professionals Association and chair of the Self-Employed Alliance in the UK.
Writing for the ContractorUK website, Dr Campbell advised that independent workers adopt such already widely publicized, but “simple” measures as washing hands with soap and water, “regularly and always before eating”.
He added that it should take 30 seconds to thoroughly wash one’s hands, and that learning the NHS’s recommended six-point hand-washing technique would allow contractors to wash their hands much more efficiently.
Dr Campbell added that social distancing had been “correctly identified” by the British government as another important strategy for combating the virus. “In practical terms,” he advised, “attempt to maintain two meters (circa six feet) between yourself and other people where possible, and at least one meter.”
Other practical tips of particular relevance to contractors
In the event that a contractor does feel unwell, Dr Campbell warned that while “contractors do have a reputation for soldiering on through almost any infection… contractors must abandon this attitude during a pandemic, even though many of us wear it as a badge of pride.”
Indeed, he said that even contractors who felt well would have “personal and societal consequences to consider” when assessing whether to continue working.
He explained that while self-isolating for the duration of the pandemic may well be the “safest answer”, “such self-isolation is impractical for many and the decision may depend upon personal finances, whether you have other health conditions, and risk tolerance.”
Dr Campbell did add, however, that contractors living with elderly relatives or those with asthma, diabetes or chronic kidney disease – these all being high-risk groups – should be especially strongly in favor of not working, if this is manageable for them.
He also strongly recommended that independent professionals in, or approaching their 70s consider stopping work altogether until the outbreak has ended, self-isolating at home.
As for those contractors who have no choice but to meet with and speak to a client face-to-face, Dr Campbell advised them to “be mindful of surfaces which may have viral particles on them such as door handles and elevator buttons”, in addition to trying “at all times to maintain social distancing.”
Don’t hesitate to discuss your tax, accounting and payroll concerns with us
The coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly complicating life for almost all contractors and those who work with them, which is just one reason why it is so crucial to always have the most informed and trusted experts by your side.
Our solutions, advice and guidance for contractors, recruiters and employers alike have long made us a highly trusted global employment organization – so don’t wait any longer to get in touch with us if you require help with navigating the current tricky climate for flexible workers.