Working away from home and the Contractor

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Working away From Home
Working away From Home

Working Away from Home

Working Away from home is common for contractors. Most would have done it at some stage. Here is one guy’s story.

Many years ago, I used to live in London. I decided to move back to Ireland for family reasons. However, in those days there weren‘t many contracts – certainly not paying what they did in London.

So, I kept my flat on and stayed there Monday to Friday, and flying back at the weekend. I did this for a number of years but haven‘t had to for quite a while.

I thought of giving you all some tips I picked up. However, maybe it‘s better to just say what I found useful and leave it to you to take my advice or not on working away from home.

Cheaper Flights

I‘ll assume that you all realise that it‘s better to check in with hand baggage only. Also, you have to book ahead for the cheaper flights.

Of course, you‘ll need something to read. Some of my ideas may also be out of date as I did most of my flying before the ascent of Ryanair and EasyJet.

Interview Start

Let‘s start at the interview.

I never mentioned in them that I was planning to fly back and forth. All things being equal, they would have given the job to the local candidate.

When I signed the contract, I would book flights for the next 6 weeks – a big outlay at first. I found that six weeks would enable you to get a cheap flight. It also let you do an element of planning with regard to your weekends.

Normal Working Times

When I started the contract, I would aim to be in for normal working times. After two or three weeks, I could suss out whether it was permissible to leave early on a Friday lunchtime or not.

A big plug is due to bmi (formerly British Midland) as I‘d try to fly with them where possible. This was because with roughly 25 return flights in a calendar year, you could join their Diamond Club. That allowed you to use their lounges which were peaceful, clean, cool and plied with free drinks, snacks and newspapers.

I joked that I would fly to London on a Sunday night at 9 p.m. but get to the airport at 3 o‘clock to take advantage of the free bar.

Bmi also give you points towards free flights. However, nowadays you have to pay about £40 in taxes and charges so that this is not such a good deal.

Sunday Night When Working Away

In general, I found flying on a Sunday night easier. You could have a couple of drinks and read the paper. That’s not too different from what I‘d be doing at home.

On Sunday evening at about 9, the air traffic at Heathrow eases off and the flight goes straight in without circling. However, if you fly in early on a Monday morning, you have to get up at an unearthly hour. You get in about 10.30 or so and you‘re tired all day.

Added to that, winter problems like snow, fog and ice are all worse in the morning. Plus the number of planes coming in is huge at that time. Heathrow was near where I stayed in London and as I had a Travelcard for work, it cost me nothing to get home from there, compared to about £10 one way from Gatwick or Stansted.

Now this might all sound a bit anorakish but forewarned is forearmed.

Internet Check Out

Check out on the Internet before leaving for the airport how the flights on your chosen airline are doing. Basically, if they‘re on time, yours should be, and vice versa.

I usually got up to the airport an hour before my flight, which gave me about twenty minutes contingency time.

If it‘s winter, look at the weather. Expecting a delay and getting it isn‘t as bad as one coming out of the blue.

Money Spinner When Working Away

One lucrative idea to ruminate is that airlines (but not the low cost ones) will often ask for volunteers to give up their seat if the plane is overbooked. This happens a lot at peak times like bank holidays and rugby internationals.

Generally you get a voucher for £150 or so, a seat in business class on the next flight and access to the lounge if you‘re not a member.

There is nothing to stop you doing this again on the next one as long as you don‘t get into trouble with your partner or your work for being so late.

After all that, in this article, we haven‘t even got on the plane. Watch out for the next part coming soon!

Working away from home is not so bad.

For further good advice on contracting click on Contracting.

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