Work Life Shift. NUJ News Recovery Plan. #forgottenfreelances campaign. Remote Work Wiki.
👋🏻Happy Sunday! Newsletter #1 (still not decided what to call this yet, been inspired by my neighbour’s new puppy, Zeus. The Muses? We’ll see…)
We had our first National Union of Journalists branch meeting on Zoom this week. London Freelance. 77 members – many of whom haven’t been to a meeting before as they don’t live in London etc. so this is definitely something to continue post-corona. People seem to prefer audio-only for evening meets as it’s less intrusive, radio background while they cook or do other stuff. It works well.
Pamela Morton, Freelance National Organiser and Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary gave us a quick update on what’s been happening with the #forgottenfreelance campaign to help workers who fall through the cracks.
There was no support for freelancers initially, so getting the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) up and running was a result. It went live on Wednesday – check if you’re eligible here. Then they realised there are horrendous gaps – two million workers fall through the cracks so they’re pushing for a meeting with Treasury to see what can be done. They’ve been hearing from sole traders, limited company directors, casuals paid by the PAYE system for shift work who haven’t been furloughed by the companies they work for, newly self-employed and those earning over 50k.
I’m one of them as a sole director – see the #forgottenLTD threads on Twitter so I’ve been applying for grants and Universal Credit.
Many journalists are facing great hardship and say they’ll be feeling the impact for years to come and are considering leaving the industry. We need to turn this around asap.
If you’re a #forgottenfreelance or self-employed worker who isn’t eligible for the SEISS scheme, download this letter to make your case to your MP.
You can help support the news industry by sending a letter to your MP which urges the UK government to revamp its scheme to provide more support for freelancers, PAYE individuals and the self-employed.
The NUJ has also launched an ambitious News Recovery Plan for the UK and Ireland to sustain the press and media through the crisis and reinvigorate the industry into a reimagined future. The crisis has shown how important it is to have a news media providing accurate information, trustworthy content and one that holds the government and authorities to account.
We’ve got Trump helpfully suggesting disinfectant might be injected as a coronavirus cure, and the Trump of the Tropics, Bolsonaro, who can’t see the point of social distancing: “So what? *shrugs* “I mourn [the deaths], what do you want me to do?” Brazil now has the 4th largest outbreak of coronavirus in the world.
“It’s not about handouts or compensation for the industry – we’re looking for investment in our future to transform the media industry, make it fit for our collective purpose and truly serve the public good.” You can support the NUJ petition here.
This week, I helped launch GCVA Connect, a digital network for 90+ members of the Gift Card & Voucher Association. New app – a community forum via Disciple, and a blog to explore what the gift card industry has been doing collectively to help support frontline workers. Here’s Issue #1 – ‘From Conference to Corona’ by Gail Cohen, Director General – a personal view of how the crisis has impacted a non-profit organisation.
I also work with Hoxby, a consultancy whose mission is to create a happier and more fulfilled society through a world of work without bias. This has been the world’s biggest experiment into remote working, and many companies are surprised by how well it’s working – given the speed at which we’ve had to adapt. Hoxby has published some research into remote working trends – 78% of senior management agree “remote working is the future of my organisation.”
It’s time to reflect and review systems and processes. I think we’ll see some significant changes to work culture post-corona. I’ve been reading about how large offices will become a thing of the past, with more staff working remotely. This week, Twitter announced its employees will have the option to work from home, and other companies are following suit. How work is an activity, not a place. Futurist James Wallman posted on LinkedIn about hotels being temporary workplaces in the future – ‘Wotels?’ for brainstorming sessions. I love working in hotels and airports. Neutral spaces. People watching and eavesdropping on conversations always sparks new ideas.
I wrote a blog for Hoxby on the benefits of working with them as part of a shift in strategy to create more client-focused content. If you’re looking for a kickass freelance project team, check them out. They’re a collective of over 1k freelancers from 40 countries who work remotely on projects, both in-house and client-facing across all disciples – creative, futureproofing, HR, admin, marketing, & PR. So, lots of brains and all levels of experience to help you solve problems. Feels good to be part of a freelance community that ploughs its profits back into the business and gives a share to its workers 👏 – hope to see more freelance platforms following this model.
If you’re struggling with remote working and/or getting your teams motivated, check out their Remote Working Strategic Approach. Important distinction – remote working is not the same as working from home – it requires a shift in mindset and some process.
Also, this thread on Femstreet with Camille Ricketts, Head of Marketing at productivity toolmaker Notion. Last week, they released their Remote Work Wiki, a central hub for the best resources on remote work – from tips to articles and company policies. Jump in!
And this useful list of resources for freelancers from journalist Harriet Marsden, who challenges the idea that freelance journalism is cutthroat and no one helps each other. That’s not been her experience (or mine). DM her if you want a copy.
Talking of new habits: I’m on the daily jogs. I’ve downloaded the Peleton app – three months’ free trial during lockdown – an excellent motivator 🎧. I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex. We have hardly any cases down here (Sky News this week) so there are lots of day-trippers and the seafront’s busy. There are a few places doing takeaway coffee, fish & chips, fish markets in the old town, Judges Bakery etc. Overall, it’s pretty relaxed. That feeling of chill and freshness. Salty tang. Always perks me up.
From Harriet: “Pour yourself a big fucking drink and say cheers to a new life.”
From Gail: “So, tonight, raise a glass of whatever your tipple is, to good health, to your family, your friends, your colleagues, and our industry.
L’chaim – to life.”
PS. My neighbours have given up their flat rental to live on their canal boat in Leicestershire for a bit. Lisa’s taking a career break for eight months, and Mike is shielding so they’ve decided to do something different for the summer. “Our outgoings have gone from £1,200 to around £300.” They’ve got a few problems with the boat so are back while they sort that out, but will be off again shortly. She says Zeus loves it, outdoor life, running after rabbits. How inspiring. I want an adventure! For now, it’s exploring different parts of town on my runs – and my newsletter babies.
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Here to brighten up your Sunday morning and get you ready for the week ahead!
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