When I decided to go freelance, one of my big fears was getting sick – sick pay is not a luxury you get as a new freelancer, and I seem to have quite a low immune system. However since I’ve been contracting, I’ve only lost one day’s pay from sickness, and that’s quite good for me. However, I’ve been sick more than just one day…
There are benefits of being self-employed and working from home when it comes to sickness. When I was a normal employee and was sick, there were only really two choices: call in sick, or get up, shower, throw on some make up and commute to work. For me it’s the getting up and commuting and facing people, which is the worst part of being ill, not necessarily the work itself. Occasionally you can get a WFH pass, but it was frowned upon where I was. I felt at the time that this was short-sighted, and now I know for sure it is.
I now have a whole heap of options available to me (Assuming I’m not due on site for a client). I can not bother getting washed, and work from bed / the sofa / at my desk in PJs., or I can sleep in and start the day a little later with a bit more shuteye under my belt, or I can do the absolute minimum urgent work, and take the rest of the day off to recover. And it’s all my decision as to what’ll get the best out of me for the client, and be best for me as a person, because, dear employers, that’s what your employees are; people. And forcing people to work when they’re not at their best is detrimental to both them and to the business:
By weakening our immune system, sleep deprivation also makes us more susceptible to garden-variety illnesses, like the common cold. It would actually be better for business if employees called in tired, got a little more sleep, and then came in a bit late, rather than call in sick a few days later or, worse, show up sick, dragging themselves through the day while infecting others.
Obviously if you’re seriously ill, then it’s a bit different, but for things like mild stomach upsets, migraines, colds etc it can be beneficial to have this flexibility to work around your illness, rather than through it. So I no longer fear being ill as a Freelancer, as I can handle it in a far better way than I could when I was an employee.