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
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
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
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
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.