While advancements in technology and communication systems over the years have caused lifestyles and workspaces to evolve, the speed at which these technological changes are happening is continuing to challenge the way we as individuals and workers adapt. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are witnessing drastic changes in their workplace, at first thought to be temporary, but given the uncertainty of the situation and how long this pandemic has lasted, it looks like they may be here to stay. It’s safe to say that the biggest change this pandemic has wrung in is a shift in the workforce structure. People have gone from working in office spaces all their lives to working remotely from home. Remote working has also paved a way for a rise in gig employment and gig jobs around the country, a side of the economy that was commonly dismissed for a long period of time.
So with COVID-19 sparking an increase in gig employment, the question that many are curious to know is about the impact of the rising gig economy on the future of business. How would this affect the future of work? Before we dive in, let’s explore the gig economy and the gig working culture.
Gig Working: What is it?
Gig employment essentially refers to organisations who contract skilled independent workers for short-term work. A gig is nothing but another term for a project and so gig workers are hired to provide companies with specialized services required for a part, or the entire project. Gig working emerged as a method to support the niche pool of sole traders, independent product/service specialists and freelancers who sought after the flexibility that short-term work offered along not only the exposure they receive from creative, fast-paced, high-engagement projects but the thrill of working with vastly diverse organizations of various sizes and strengths.
Advantages the gig economy offers
From a human resource perspective, this proves to be a win-win for both parties. Corporate recruiters now have the opportunity to get a talent coalition going by selecting specialised professionals to engage with the traditional workforce for the right projects at the right time. Some of the benefits that gig working offers are:
- Flexibility in terms of work and contracts
- Access to a world of learning, facilities, ideas and rewards
- A personalized work-life balance
- Competitive salary packages
- A platform to try your hands in multiple skills or even upskill yourself
- A platform to easily and rapidly grow your brand/service
The effect of COVID-19 on gig employment
Remote working was something that many organizations may have never foreseen in their work structure in a billion years. However, with employees of many small and large organizations working remotely from home for a while now, thanks to COVID-19, has not helped organizations slowly adapt to this concept as a temporary measure but is now strongly building their confidence around working from home being the plausible “new normal”. When work that was once thought to be done in a physical office space, organizations are finding new ways to do it remotely. An increase in remote working has also seen a rise in the creation of several apps, software, video conferencing and collaboration tools opening up many possibilities to seamlessly connect with team members from around the world right in their homes. Organizations have grown to believe that with the right tools and support, working is possible from literally anywhere and is not limited to a small office cubicle.
The minimal availability or rather awareness of collaboration tools that we now have prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns may have hindered the organizations’ ability to tap into gig working previously. But now for the gig economy, this highly connected environment that was suddenly born out of an adaptation indirectly forced by the pandemic, it is an ideal setting for gig employment - a space where freelance work from home jobs and the like can finally thrive.
Technological advancements that have contributed
Moreover, rapid digitization has managed to alter previously disorganized the freelance and contract working space into a well connected online community. When gig jobs were once acquired cause of word-of-mouth recommendations, nowadays a quick Google search for say “the best freelance jobs” avails you a long list of websites, professional portfolios, online forums, social media pages giving not only organizations the ability to choose from an array of talent for the right opportunities but gig professionals as well to review organizations, connect with fellow gig workers for roles that specifically cater to their skills. It’s safe to that the days when gig employment was acquired through applying in response to jobs ads in the newspaper, referrals, and job forums are well behind us. The revolution of the gig ecosystem has resulted in freelance work from home jobs now being accessible to everyone online.
This trend is not just affecting the future of work but the future of business as a whole. A shift in dynamics has been providing corporates with a new perspective. Their eyes are now opened to see the advantages of having a flexible workforce. Thanks to several collaboration tools, companies are finding it easy to employ highly skilled professionals who bring high levels of productivity, while saving costs on infrastructure, travel and other allowances. Due to this, organisations are now able to compensate gig workers with similar benefits and package incentives almost equal to what a full-time employee would receive.
Gig Employment and the Future of Business:
Statistics have revealed that by 2023, India’s labour force will receive an influx of 70 million workers out of which around 60 million will be under the age of 30. With the increase of millennials in the workforce along with technology breaking communication barriers, the value that hierarchy held in organizations is fading. Organizations are quickly realising the benefits of placing value on skills instead, over a tag of a “full-time-job”. On the other hand, gig workers are embracing this change, viewing this as an opportunity to increase their visibility , try new skills, gain valuable work experience and recognition they desire. With the way gig employment is tracking in the pandemic, gig workers are seeing this as a way to grow and diversify their skill set. By taking up some of the best freelance jobs and sometimes multiple jobs, they see this as “making hay when the sun shines” as opposed to pre-COVID times when freelance work was hard to come by.
It is already no surprise that freelance work from home jobs are becoming increasingly popular given the current situation. The trend of recruiters moving toward skill-based hiring over experience-based hiring is only set to grow from now on. Soon, we can expect to see gig professionals taking up at least half if not more than half, of the workforce in an organization.
In conclusion, we can comfortably say that gig working possesses all the possible characteristics of what we can expect the future of work to look like. With no foreseeable end or a set direction, the independent working concept breaks free from limitations that traditional work structures impose. And maybe that’s why it’s deeming to be the ideal choice for many during this season of uncertainty.
Moonlyte aims to provide a widely collaborative platform where freelancers and clients can come together to work toward a common goal. If you’re a business, find and hire from a pool of highly-skilled freelancers waiting to work on exciting projects you have to offer. Freelancers? List your skills, services and projects on this platform only to be recognised by top clients in your field of expertise. Gain insights, tips and trends for recruiters as well as freelancers here as we keep you updated on all things related to freelance jobs and the gig economy