Holidays are extremely important for contractors, but they need to let their clients know well in advance when they'll be taking them.
We know there are still a few weeks left until the start of the Christmas holidays, which you're no doubt already counting down to. But have you given any thought to your holidays for next year?
Summer 2018 might seem like a very long way off right now, seeing as we're only halfway through December 2017. However, if you work for yourself as a limited company contractor or freelancer, you should be thinking about planning your breaks from work well in advance. Here, we take a look at why:
Why contractors need to schedule in time off
Recent research carried out by Expedia set out to discover just how important time away from work is to people all over the world, finding that Brits value it very highly.
Altogether, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of survey respondents said they usually returned from a break feeling more relaxed and 61 per cent reported that a holiday typically left them feeling rejuvenated. Running your own business can be challenging at times, meaning a chance to relax and rejuvenate can be just what contractors need.
In addition, 40 per cent of those questioned revealed that they were usually more patient after returning from a break, with the same number of respondents also saying that holidays left them feeling less anxious about their role.
All of this can be invaluable for contractors. It can be a huge help to leave work behind for a few days or weeks and return to it with a fresh lookout after treating yourself to some downtime. So start looking at your diary now to see when you could take a break next year.
Remember that having something scheduled in to look forward to could also give you a boost, making you feel a little more motivated during the long cold winter days.
Overall, UK workers said that taking their holiday entitlement was incredibly important to them, with 55 per cent saying they would give up alcohol for a week if it granted them an extra day off, while 43 per cent claimed they would give up social media and 30 per cent said they'd abstain from sex for seven days if awarded the same privilege.
Limited company contractors might not get a holiday entitlement, but they do get to select their own working hours and days, so take advantage of this privilege and use it to make sure you're taking a reasonable amount of holiday in 2018 - just let your clients know when you're planning to be unavailable.
Make sure clients are given plenty of notice
Six months or more might seem like a silly amount of notice to give your clients that you won't be available at a certain time, but if there are clients that you work with regularly, it's important to manage their expectations. If they're used to just ringing you up and being able to call upon your services a few days later, they need to know they won't necessarily be able to do so at a particular time.
If you can let your clients know well in advance, they'll be able to plan around your holiday. Perhaps they'll ask you to do a little extra for them in the run-up to your holiday, which would be a small price to pay to make sure you have an uninterrupted break.
Clients will appreciate being told that you won't be available ahead of time, and if you get in touch with one you haven't spoken to for a while to let them know of your plans - it could spark a conversation about potential future opportunities with them.
For contractors, effective client management is all about managing expectations. If clients know when you'll be available, there should never be any issues. But letting them know just days before your holiday when they were counting on utilising your services could leave them feeling let down.
Ultimately, it's always better to give lots of notice than not enough.