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Coronavirus and the Independent Workforce: Tips, Strategies & Tools for Successful Remote Work, Safety, and Preparedness

By McLean Robbins | , ,

Updated Saturday, March 7, 2020

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MBO Partners recognizes the growing concern about the possible spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

We’d like to take this time to address some additional risk mitigation activities that independent professionals can take to help prevent further spread of this and any virus, as well as to offer some proactive suggestions so that independents can remain as productive as possible during this time.

Traveling & Remote Work during COVID-19 for Freelancers

Whether out of an abundance of caution or client-specific policies, many freelancers will find themselves working remotely more often than usual during this time period. While it may be commonplace for independent contractors to work from home, it is always beneficial to brush up on remote working tips, particularly if you are used to a face-to-face cadence or working on a project that has planned upcoming face-to-face meetings that may be rescheduled.

  • Know your independent rights. A key right of independent professionals is control. Another key right is the ability to work when, and how you want. While your contract likely governs the unique stipulations of each project, you can, and should, set out steps to protect yourself from unnecessary travel or risks.
  • Communication with your client is key – proactive phone calls, video meetings, or a regular email cadence can help build trust and keep a project on track. Virtual meeting tools, like Zoom, can even be considered tax-deductible expenses for your independent business. Treat remote meetings like you would face-to-face interactions. Turn on your camera when possible, minimize distractions, and stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Staying on top of deadlines, so that projects deliver on time, is also critical. Try to practice effective time management strategies, and know that you may need to consider updating your home office, particularly if other family members who don’t normally work from home are doing so during this period.
  • Take added security precautions. If you work periodically from unsecured locations, like coffee shops, coworking spaces and more, know that you’ll need to take extra care not just to clean your space, but to make sure that your work, particularly that work done on behalf of your clients, adheres to necessary security precautions and procedures. This may mean utilizing screen protectors, avoiding secure work on unsecured internet servers, and considering if your conference calls and meetings can be taken from a public space.
  • Consider your project pipeline. If your project is put on hold or delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, this can have a negative impact on both your project pipeline and cashflow. Now is a great time to polish your online resume, as well as consider looking for new project openings.

General Safety & Preparedness during Coronavirus for Independent Contractors

This is a stressful time for many. The below tips are useful to keep healthy, both during flu season and for issues such as the ongoing coronavirus concerns.

  1. Keep Clean. Desks, tables, and work surfaces. Phones, keyboards, and mice should be disinfected regularly. As an added bonus, clearing clutter can help increase focus and productivity.
  2. Wash your hands. Hand washing is critical to prevent the spread of disease; do so regularly and thoroughly. Also, avoid touching your face if possible.
  3. Cover your mouth. Please be courteous of your fellow family and team members and make every effort to practice good hygiene when coughing and sneezing.
  4. If you’re sick or feel you can be contagious, please stay home. If you do not feel well, display signs of the flu or other transmittable illness, work from home.
  5. Speak up. If you come in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, seek medical attention.

If you work with MBO Partners and have questions about your client’s policies and procedures, please do not hesitate to reach out to your client care team at any point. We’re here for you.

MBO Partners is not a provider of health, legal, or financial advice. For the latest on COVID-19, we suggest visiting the CDC’s dedicated coronavirus website.