August 14, 2020 Last updated August 14th, 2020 1,361 Reads share

How Companies Can Make the Gig Economy Work for Everyone

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Gig roles have been around forever. Artists sell their work, piece by piece. Carpenters and electricians are paid by the project.

Why is the gig economy suddenly getting so much attention? Because companies realize full-time employment simply doesn’t make sense for certain types of work that they need to be done.

Because many companies are just getting their feet wet, however, they don’t always do a great job of supporting gig workers. How can they do better? With these 11 steps:

Identify Ideal Points of Contribution 

Gig workers want to provide real value, just like their traditionally employed peers. It’s incumbent on business owners to identify those opportunities.

Not only does that help gig workers feel fulfilled, but it helps companies be more efficient. Gig workers can help cut operating costs by as much as 30%, compared to the costs of full-time employment.

Full-time employees are valuable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize your business. Find that sweet spot where both parties win.

Offer Benefits

The most pressing issue for gig workers today is the lack of benefits that would be available under salaried employment. Never has this been as clear as during COVID-19.

The majority of Americans receive healthcare through their employer. Because gig workers are technically self-employed, many of them have struggled with economic insecurity and steep healthcare costs.  

To empower gig workers in your organization, look at possible benefits packages you can offer them. Set a minimum requirement for them to meet, such as the number of hours logged or projects completed. In exchange, allow them to sign up for benefits they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Provide Stability

Another cause of concern for gig workers everywhere is a lack of stability. Not knowing where tomorrow’s paycheck will come from or how large it might be is stressful.

Contracted workers’ income is based on the number of jobs they’re able to take. If there’s no work to be done, there’s no income — which can cause a range of mental health issues.

When dealing with gig workers, give them a steady schedule, so they know what to expect. They’ll likely be working with several companies, but knowing that there’s reliable work with your organization will provide them peace of mind. 

Offer Working Space

Offering even a small office space for contracted workers can give them a place to focus and feel like they belong. If you have freelance web developers or writers who would prefer to work in an office setting on occasion, give them that opportunity.

When companies welcome contracted workers to their campus, they promote loyalty and team cohesion. Access to break rooms and company resources helps gig workers feel at home within your organization.

Disregard the Distance

The best candidates for contracted work might come from another state, or even from a different country. The glory of the gig economy is its flexibility and range: You can hire a graphics designer from across the world if they fit the role you’re trying to fill.

Use software to give gig workers a great experience wherever they might be located. With more people opting to work from home than ever, don’t limit yourself to local candidates. Recruit digitally to widen your gig-worker talent pool. 

Check In Often

The dynamic of the gig economy is much different than traditional employment. Gig workers can feel disconnected, especially if they’re working apart from the rest of the team.

When you employ contracted workers, checking in with them frequently shows your appreciation for them and boosts their morale. People want to work for those who genuinely care about them.

Support Their Routines

Gig workers do what they do because they value flexibility. Keep this in mind when assigning work: They may not be available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and that’s their prerogative.

Some gig workers prefer early mornings or late nights. Others are willing to work weekends but have weekday obligations. By accommodating their schedule, you boost their productivity and engender loyalty. 

Help Them Grow

Everyone deserves to grow in their career. Start gig workers out with a select number of jobs at an agreed-upon base pay. Offer opportunities to boost their pay through hard work and ingenuity. Be transparent about the terms for advancement, just as you would your traditional employees.  

Remember, encouraging gig workers’ professional development also benefits your business. Help them expand their horizons, and they might make a great full-time team member someday. 

Pay Fairly 

The gig economy will crumble if its workers aren’t paid fairly for their work. Contracted workers still need to make a living; in their case, income isn’t always guaranteed. Paying them fairly encourages new faces to join the gig economy.

Making payments promptly is important, as well. Late paychecks can spook struggling gig workers. After even one or two late payments, they may be tempted to seek jobs elsewhere.

Expand Your Company Culture

When gig workers invest in your company, invest in them. Give them a chance to take part in company events and gatherings. 

This doesn’t have to be expensive: Company picnics work great as potlucks. Secret Santa doesn’t require your business to buy gifts for anyone. In many cases, including gig workers is free. In terms of their work ethic, though, it can make a big difference.

Push Peers to Be Better

In some circles, a few bad actors have hurt the gig economy’s reputation. Treating your gig workers well is essential, but so is encouraging other companies to do so. 

Use positive and negative reinforcement: Forge partnerships with companies that respect their gig workers, and avoid doing business with those that don’t. Stand up for what’s right, and gig workers will be that much more willing to stick with you. 

The future of the gig economy is bright, and it shines brightest for companies that are willing to go the extra mile. Do right by your people — whether employed or contracted — and they’ll do right by your business.

DepositPhotos – freelancer