More & more people are taking on gigs. Short, one-off assignments that mostly do not require the person to be based anywhere. You could be on the road, based in Dubai or trekking in the mountains. It’s a gig i.e. for a specific (Usually short term) period, for a specific task / work to be completed. It does not require joining a team and/or having structured hours etc.
For most people who have had full-time long-term jobs, this is a hard one to wrap their heads around. But, it is the future, for more people than one realizes.
There could be many reasons people jump onto this bandwagon. Autonomy & control / creation of multiple revenue streams / potential to earn while seeking a job or even making money on the side. It could even be the only way they have to make money. It could be to avoid workplace toxity, or to ensure a more flexible job/life environment, or to avoid burnout from the usual grind of the 9-5. It could also be the potential to make more money while keeping their independence, taking on projects interesting to them, finding new challenges instead of the monotony of a single tasked job or even having the freedom to move around the world while still earning money.
Whatever the reason, it is efficient, employs a broader workforce, provides opportunities for employers as well as the general public, to contribute. Its growth is staggering. The Gig economy is projected to be worth USD 455.2 B by 2023. That’s in 2 years. And it is projected to grow by USD 50.0 Billion every year.
The workforce it incubates provides agile, flexible, on-demand and limitless (across geographic divides) manpower in virtually every field. A more diverse offering and a plethora of options awaits the people involved.
Yet, for all its potential, it also has its dark side.
It creates an un-regulated workforce (For the most part) that can be underpaid, mistreated and exploited. It also ends up circumventing service or product quality controls of larger entities with systems in place that monitor or regulate them. It preys on certain sectors that are prone to colonization by the tech platforms. A live example was the food delivery business that ended up paying upto 30% of their profits to such platforms. Paying royalties to them and to such platforms cut deeply into their profits and created cash flow issues, profit margin crunches and internal schisms regarding working with such platforms.
After having laid out potential pitfalls, the upside is so bright that it cannot be ignored.
An iteration of such jobs comes from the www.taskrabbit.com website. Skilled or unskilled, one-task-errand or a more complex assignment, this site pulls in people from all walks of life. On the flip side of the equation, it is also great for people wanting to get things done. From moving furniture or fixing stuff to running errands etc. they can achieve a lot more from their day by using such sites. It is support at the touch of a button. Many such sites exist (https://www.upshift.work/) (https://www.jobble.com/) (Amazon Mechanical Turk www.mturk.com etc.) They have transformed the way people employ, work and interact for tasks. It is becoming amply clear that this is the future. No more trudging to a 9-5 with toxic environments, office politics, time wasting and being stuck in one place.
The deconstruction of jobs, availability of skills from a larger pool, the ease of doing business and access to skill sets within a price range and geographical area are all huge plus points.
Flexibility, availability, autonomy and decentralized structures are the hallmarks of this new work culture and they are transforming the way we work. Time to embrace the new lifestyle.
The Gig economy is here to stay. Let’s not miss the boat this time around.
Author: Uzair Hassan CEO 3H Solutions Group (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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