23rd August 2011 Written by Seb Maley
In an ideal world we’d all have contracts around the corner from home. Unfortunately that is rarely possible and, more often than not, you’ll either have a sizeable commute, or will have to stay away from home during the week.
If you are having to stay away for a contract, we’ve come up with some tips which should help to make the situation more bearable.
You’ve got a few options for accommodation when working away. The first that springs to mind is obviously a hotel.
There are plenty of websites that search through numerous hotels to find the best deals, so these should be your first port of call. Our favourites are:
These are fine for shorter stays. However, if you are looking at a lengthy contract it is worth contacting the hotel directly to see if they have discounted rates for long stays. The majority probably will, especially if it’s just week nights. Living at a budget hotel is reminiscent of Alan Partridge, but sometimes it’s the only option.
Ensure that any hotel you do pick caters for your needs, i.e. wifi, room service, bar etc. There’s nothing worse than being holed up in a bland room with only the noises of the amorous couple next door to keep you company.
Sometimes an independent bed & breakfast is a good option. You are more likely to be able to negotiate a long-stay discount with them and the rooms will generally be a bit more homely.
There are pitfalls, of course. Wifi and decent TV channels are unlikely and some B&B owners are oddballs who may be rather over-friendly.
Some B&Bs are listed on the hotel search sites, but it’s also worth a basic Google search for the smaller ones.
Actually renting out a flat or house may seem like a bit of a pain, but if you have a long contract with likely extensions it may be a cost effective option.
There are a couple of websites that cater for people looking for a room in a house. This is a great idea and seems to work brilliantly for contractors. Try spareroom.co.uk and mondaytofriday.com, which are both searchable by location and have a plethora of house-sharing opportunities.
One contractor I met had a motor home and stayed in that throughout the week. So, if you are comfortable with the idea of sleeping in a deserted layby, that is an option.
I’ve also met someone who stayed in a tent whilst on contract, but that’s rather extreme and probably not advisable at Canary Wharf in January.
A final thing to consider; if your contract is during the summer months you could look at student apartments. The dirty students won’t be there and many companies rent out the empty properties for peanuts to keep them occupied.
Staying away from home is always difficult, especially if you are leaving family behind. So it’s vital that you keep yourself as occupied as possible during the long nights. Staying in your room and watching endless Midsomer Murders DVDs is a risk to anyone’s heath, so try to think of something more exciting to do.
Have a look on the internet for activities you enjoy in the vicinity. Do you like playing 5-a-side football, or chess, or squash? Keeping physically active is important.
You may also want to use your spare time to gain extra skills. Some people will work on Open University courses, or you can immerse yourself in text books specific to your profession.
If you have a ‘plan B’ (i.e. a business idea away from contracting) it’s an opportune time to work on that as well.
If you’re working away you’ll be able to claim expenses through your company. Here is a very quick guide:
All rates are correct at the time of publishing. Contractor Weekly Ltd is not responsible for the content of any external websites.
Do you have any tips for staying away? If so, please add your comments below.
By Seb Maley