Leadership

Is the gig economy here to stay?

As many countries grapple with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is struggling to navigate through the ensuing socio-economic storm.  Remote-working has fast become a key component of the new normal. An article by EY highlights that the confluence of technological trends and current social distancing norms have impelled the need for a gig economy. A gig-economy is where people are looked at as independent contractors or freelancers instead of full-time workers.

Today, more and more businesses are adapting to remote-working environments due to social distancing norms enforced by the new normal. Work models are changing and many businesses and governments can garner access to high-skilled professions for short-term projects that can  spur accelerated change and innovation.

Much like how just in time was a revolution for supply chains and inventory management, the gig economy too is leading to more agile business models. Businesses realize that managing costs and building business resilience can only happen with a more agile workforce.  While the gig economy has existed for decades, it is only now that we are seeing their increased use in blue-chip and mid-market companies.

A recently concluded EY study in the US highlighted that, one in two employers have increased their use of gig workers over a period of time. 

Not a fad

Due to the pandemic, many industries have accelerated the pace of digital transformation. The rate of adoption of technologies like cloud computing, automation, AI, and IoT has increased significantly. Industries are compelled to use these technologies to enhance productivity, cut costs, and maintain their competitive edge in the long-run. As a part of their agile business models, the use of gig workers has also increased. 

According to a KPMG report, the digital economy has been growing 2.5x faster than the legacy economy.  Many leading nations who have digital transformation have +35 percent contribution to their respective GDPs via the digital economy. The changing paradigms of business, financial, and operating models has spurred the growth of the gig economy. 

The idea of an agile team with a scalable, reliable and more importantly digital workforce finds immediate appeal. Today, many online platforms for gigs have emerged and they are win-win for employees and employers both. 

Remote-work benefits

Remote-work can aid businesses, governments, and also employees. KPMG highlights that the UK government was able to achieve £ 32 billion in annual national savings by implementing 2 tele-work days per week. 

68 percent of employees surveyed in the US revealed that remote-work aided their health whereas 83 percent highlighted that remote-work improved their morale.  The perception towards gig-jobs in many organizations across public and private sectors is changing for the better.  Today, not only do businesses have to adapt to the requirements of an agile workforce, but governments too have to create effective policy-frameworks to establish a culture of digital nomads.

Many people today have developed a gig mindset as jobs are becoming more skill-driven.  The gig mindset instills a sense of freedom, accountability, engagement and openness.  In the gig economy, individuals will have to place emphasis on their personal branding and market reputation.

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