Three Things Business Owners Should Know About The Gig Economy

This article was originally published via Forbes by Craig J. Lewis.

So, you’re a business leader in 2018. The world’s economy is rapidly evolving around you, and you’re seeking new ways to capitalize on emerging trends. Where a new frontier opens up, entrepreneurs, opportunists, and companies emerge to capitalize on new opportunities — something we’ve seen for several years now with the growth of the so-called gig economy.

Gallup defines the gig economy as “multiple types of alternative work arrangements such as contingent workers, independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers, and temporary workers.” Increasingly, technology is powering the gig economy, which has been a lynchpin in catalyzing business growth.

If you’re thinking about taking advantage of independent workers in your own business, here are three things you should know about the gig economy.

According to Gallup’s latest 
research poll on the gig economy’s growth, 36% of U.S. workers have some form of gig work arrangement in 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, roughly 11% of U.S. workers had an alternative job. The correlation between this growth and technology’s imprint on society is unmistakable.

Everyone from Gen Zers and millennials to Gen Xers and baby boomers has discovered ways to make the gig economy work to fulfill their end goal

More workers are applying via gig-based applications, ushering in a new paradigm of human resources demands for companies attempting to adapt to new workplace demands both internally and externally. From delivery and graphic design to grocery shopping and web development, demands are perpetually adapting to technology’s innovations. Everyone from Gen Zers and millennials to Gen Xers and baby boomers has discovered ways to make the gig economy work to fulfill their end goals.

Flexibility (Especially For Millennials And Boomers)
While the gig economy presents challenges, like any other economic paradigm, what it also presents that many traditional forms of employment do not is flexibility. The nature of today’s gig economy offers opportunities for companies and contractors alike. Companies, on the one hand, can now hire highly motivated contractors anywhere in the world who can work for them remotely, which then encourages a competitive field to choose from.

On the other hand, millennial contractors in particular value the work-life balance gigging provides, seeing it as a step toward realizing their goals, whereas Boomers may see it as a way to gain freedom while making ends meet. An earlier study found that 58% of full-time and part-time independent workers proactively chose this path for many of the same reasons.

Redefining Work
As the gig economy continues to grow in lockstep with technology’s advancements, most contractors who choose to work in the gig economy are motivated by the need to supplement their income. While some businesses may lack insight into their own employees’ place in this ever-evolving paradigm, many of them benefit from employing gig workers. As the trends evolve, we’re seeing more companies employ independent contractors in all areas of need, particularly for work overflow when traditional full-time employees are unable to meet deadlines or when the specialization a task requires, like coding or web design, is in demand.

The gig economy presents an opportunity for leaders and workers to collaborate

Scaling up or down based on the needs of a company presents an advantage that an otherwise traditional company may not have. The nature of work is transforming the way companies and workers interact with each other. Thus, I believe it is imperative for companies that choose to work with contractors to implement policies that clearly outline what they expect and how they can best maximize their own company while valuing the independence of their workers.

The gig economy presents an opportunity for leaders and workers to collaborate and redefine the way the social contract between the parties is understood. Emerging trends indicate a growing desire from both new and older workers in the workforce seeking additional means to supplement themselves and create more work-life balance. Traditional employers are discovering new ways to ensure they maximize production by hiring competitive, highly skilled workers. Jobs may be finite, but work is infinite.

Written by

Craig J. Lewis

Founder | CEO GigWage I'm the Founder and Chief Entrepreneur Officer of Gig Wage, a tech startup, that builds modern payroll, payments and banking tools for the future of work. Pay your independent contractors in seconds. We designed payroll that meets the demand of your on-demand workforce. Simple. Fast. Easy.