Getting sick is never any fun. As a freelancer, it can be tragic in terms of maintaining a proper workflow and being able to ease back into work. Many freelancers try to power through their work even if they are sick because they know they won’t receive any sick pay as a contractor.
However, it’s best to listen to your body and give it the proper rest it needs to get better. This could very well mean taking a few days off to allow yourself to recover. Jumping back into work after you’ve been sick for a few days can be difficult so here are a few tips to help you .
Set Realistic Deadlines with Clients
After you’ve communicated with your clients that you would be taking a few days off to get better, make sure you set realistic deadlines and expectations so they know when they can expect your work.
Sure, it sounds really responsible to promise a completed assignment just 24 hours after you’ve been back at work, but it may not be as easy to meet that deadline.
You’ll most likely be playing catch up for a while, checking emails, and tying up any loose ends so keep that in mind when telling clients when they can expect work from you. Remember never to overpromise and underdeliver. If it takes you a few days to get back on track, that’s better than missing multiple deadlines or turning in low-quality work.
Let Clients Know if They Should Reassign Your Assignments
If you feel that you are too behind and unable to complete an assignment due to that, ask your client if they can pass the work on to someone else if they have other contractors.
Sure, it sucks to be missing out on the money, but on the bright side, you won’t have to worry about stressing yourself out to meet the deadline. If you are suffering from an illness that has kept you out of work for an extended period of time (more than just a few days) you may not really have a choice and that way you can make sure your client is still satisfied.
With this option, you’ll have to rely on your emergency savings to help fill in the gaps.
Start Off Slow
If you’re feeling much better but still not feeling 100%, it can be tempting to try to squeeze a ton of work in so your first full catch up day won’t be so hectic. However, it’s best to come back to work when you truly feel like you’ve made a full recovery and to ease back into the swing of things.
This could mean working a half day instead of a full day or just checking and responding to emails and communicating with clients for your first day back.
When I was sick for almost two weeks with a viral sore throat, I did one small assignment when I started feeling better the first day, followed by a half day of work the next day, then I increased my workload as time went on so I could be back to my normal schedule.
Summary: Be Realistic and Honest With Yourself
Getting sick doesn’t have to be a tragic event. Since it’s inevitable, you can plan for it by working ahead, building up rapport with clients and setting aside enough money to allow you to make ends meet if you need to take a few days off.
When it comes to easing back into the swing of things, take it slow, set realistic expectations and be honest about what you can and can’t handle.