Things you can do to help freelancers at this very difficult time

01 April 2020 by

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted enormously and made the situation for freelancers more precarious than ever. The Museum Freelance Network has created a helpful list of things you can do to help freelancers during this time.

Things you can do to help freelancers at this very difficult time

Freelancers have already had months of work and income cancelled or postponed indefinitely, with no or very limited hope of being able to secure new work and income in the foreseeable future. Here's a list of eight things you can do to help freelancers at this very difficult time, compiled by the Museum Freelance Network.

1. Don’t forget us 

Freelancers are an integral part of the cultural sector’s eco-system. We believe in this sector and want it to thrive as much as you do. We are your colleagues, friends, contributors. Please remember to include us in your plans, lobbying and communications. 

2. Communicate with us 

Keep lines of communication open. If you’re a client working with a freelancer, please be open and transparent. We know planning is difficult, circumstances are changing continuously, and you may not have the answers now, but please keep in touch. 

3. Involve us 

Freelancers are creative, resourceful and bring diverse perspectives to problems. Involve us in your decision-making as we may be able to help. We are a part of your community. 

4. Pay us

Pay on time or even ahead of payment terms, as cashflow for freelancers is likely to be harder than normal and income levels are likely to dip substantially. If there are reasons for paying late (e.g. difficulty getting sign-off remotely), please let us know so that we can expect this. 

5. Pay us fairly 

Please don't put downward pressure on freelancers' rate because of the Coronvirus pandemic. A freelance day rate covers many costs such as such as pensions, training, tax, insurance as well as allowing us to build up a bit of a buffer for lean times. Please respect and value us as a core part of the sector workforce. 

6. Check in on us 

This is a stressful and uncertain time for everyone. Freelancers don’t have regular work colleagues who can touch base with them, and a lot of their usual well-being mechanisms have disappeared (e.g. a face-to-face client meeting, working in a co-working space, a coffee shop meet-up, a trip to the gym). If you can touch base with any freelancers in your network (even if you’re not currently working with them), they will really appreciate that. 

7. Keep commissioning us 

Times are incredibly difficult for the sector, with unprecedented pressure and some impossibly tough decisions that need to be made. But where possible, please keep commissioning us and allow us to contribute to this wonderful sector that we so adore.  

With thanks to the Museum Freelance Network who published the original list of actions, on behalf of freelancers working with museums, libraries, archives, galleries and heritage sites.

8. Lobby for us. 

Please lobby and advocate for the sector’s self-employed, whether that’s proactively applying pressure to Government and your local MP, or simply sharing our concerns on your own communication channels. We appreciate any support you can give that helps to amplify the urgent call for more financial support for the self-employed.

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