In 2020, the days of retiring with a pension from working the same job for 30+ years are gone. Workers, especially millennials and Gen Z, move from job to job, looking for the optimal work culture, best pay and best benefits. Sometimes that journey leads them to the decision to work for themselves. The growth of the gig economy has exploded since the onset of the coronavirus, as many Americans are piecing together streams of income through multiple “gigs.” Top talent laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic this year may have driven more people to seek financial stability through the ever-growing gig economy in addition to their day jobs – or as their model for their new careers.
Why Businesses Hire Gig Workers
Hiring gig workers is beneficial to companies that need talent to perform a niche type of work on a short-term or project-by-project basis. With a gig worker, organizations don’t need to stretch resources to onboard and train a full-time employee – or to try to perform the job themselves. Businesses hiring short-term contractors save on insurance and benefits and only pay for the work they need to be completed. Also, many gig workers are hired where companies need an expert or consultant but don’t have enough work to keep them on their permanent payroll.
Moreover, the arrangement can be a win for freelancers as well as the companies that use them. Gig workers have the flexibility to work on their own terms and their own schedules. Setting their own rates, contractors have no ceiling (other than their own bandwidth) to the amount of work contractors can take on or limit to the money they can earn. Many freelancers work for several companies at once.
The benefits of the gig economy are driving the growth of this model. A recent study estimated 57 million workers are freelancing in America. With the current labor force at 155 million workers, freelancers equal 36 percent of those in traditional jobs.
While reaping major benefits from hiring temporary workers, businesses fight their own battles while managing a pipeline of freelancers. Software developers can help by providing solutions that help manage expectations and deliverables when businesses contract with a gig worker.
HR and Gig Workers: Gig workers aren’t employees, but they still need to file paperwork such as a W-9, nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), and contracts. They also must keep records for their own tax purposes. Paper-based processes are time-consuming, error-prone, and less than efficient. Enabling businesses to send digital packets to freelancers and manage documents electronically will save everyone time.
Paying Gig Workers: Some freelancers may be hesitant to provide their social security numbers or bank account information, or they may just be unwilling to wait for a paper check to reach them by mail. Enabling secure collection of necessary tax information and a convenient way to pay or transfer funds will have value to companies using gig workers.
Communicating with Gig Workers: Communication is one of the most critical aspects of working with a gig workforce. It may also be one of the easiest to solve. If you are developing a solution for managing these workers, include options or integrations that provide instant messaging, video chat or other forms of communications.
Project Management for the Gig Economy: Since gig workers are not usually present in an office—especially during COVID-19. Also, gig workers often work for more than one business at any given moment and may work during unconventional hours. Businesses need a way to align schedules and reserve freelancer time for any necessary meetings.
Gig workers provide an extremely valuable service and have an opportunity to meet these needs in a growing gig economy. With proper organization and management of gig workers, businesses can dip into a pool of talent without committing to full-time employment. Meanwhile, freelancers can bring a fresh perspective to a team’s needs while drawing inspiration from industry trends. Software developers hold the key to bringing it all together and provide effective tools to manage this growing trend.