COVID-19 and The “Remote” Economy; Its Effect On Corporate America

Since 2015, there was a high likelihood that most people understood the term “The Gig Economy” but for most, the term didn’t directly apply to them in terms of the seismic shift in the Global jobs market that it truly represented. With the rapid advancement of technology alongside various cultural changes and decades of changing social demographics, how the everyday employee looked at their respective work life had drastically changed since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

This concept has been completely exposed with people globally being forced to stay home during COVID-19 and it seems like this trend will not be going anywhere soon.

The “new world” is eating the old one, and organizations, countries and societies now have more workplace flexibility than ever before.

COVID-19, made the whole world realize this in less than 30 days, starting in March of 2020, and some could argue as soon as December 2019.

Digging deeper for those who don’t quite understand the Gig Economy, and the differences it creates in the job markets of every modernized nation across the world.

It is important to understand “what” exactly it is, and it’s potential to shape the future. The Gig Economy is a term used to reference the surge of freelance ​(independent contractor) work over the past several years, in comparison to the more traditional permanent position job structure society has grown accustomed to since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

As with most things, there’s a generational factor in here too. MBO partners, a recognized organization with expertise in remote worker, conducted numerous polls that younger generations have much more of an affinity to be freelancers because they feel differently about their place in the world than generations past.

But not only do Millennials take the lead when it comes to their “opinion” on the benefits of Freelance/independent contractor work but they also take the lead when it comes to going out and “executing” against that belief. MBO Partners stated, prior to COVID-19, ​“that by 2027 more than half of the workforce will be, or will have been, an independent (close to 6 out of 10 Americans; 58% to be exact)”.

The idea itself is simple to understand. Entrepreneurship and freelancer due to improved technologies has made it extraordinarily practical, cost-effective/feasible and to be able to work anywhere on this globe. “Employees’’ want more control over their work-life balance, now that it’s become so readily available. But that begs the question, how does the current state and more importantly, the future of freelance/independent contractor work affect the “employer”​, especially in a post-COVID environment?


1.) HR Adjustments and Millennials

Professionals’ongoing dis-infatuationwithdoingthings“thewaythey’vealwaysbeendone”in terms of employment, is stemming from one major area; technology. It’s fundamentally changed the way we share information as a species, and this process has matured over the last few decades.

Now while it’s still too early to have a complete understanding of which way folks will swing on the topic, it’s become increasingly clear with how millennials feel about things such as work-life balance. National polls corroborate that claim, in showing how millennials are just looking at their work lives alone. Flexibility is important, but that’s only the beginning. With younger generations taking full part in behemoth cultural swings, corporate America is going to have no choice but to brace for this. Corporate America is going to need to restructure its internal policies in order to better navigate the new found aspirations of the top talent in generations to come. Which then invites an entirely new concern.

2.) There Will Be A Cultural Shift In Corporate America

Getting top talent through the door is a challenge as it is, but it’s going to become increasingly more difficult as corporate America embraces to adjust to the next cycle of entry-level employees. Millennials not only have a much different view of work-life balance than generations past, but they also have more of a tendency to only pursue the work that makes them feel “fulfilled”​. It’s more about fulfillment than it is the money. The market is now flooded with unemployment, willing and able talent that do not miss their daily commute and have found themselves more receptive to remote work than ever, thanks to products like Zoom.

3.) Getting Things Done Is Going To Be A Much More Efficient Process And Those That Don’t Adapt Will Be Doomed

The remote/gig economy is putting corporations in a position to contract out work based on merit, as opposed to blindly purchasing labor. It’s going to push forward a more results based hiring process, which will ultimately play out to the benefit of corporations in the long tail because of how much easier it’s becoming to determine the difference between those who talk the talk and walk the walk.

Finally, as we move forward to July 2020 and with most of the world getting back to work, there will be quite some friction in terms of physically reporting to work or working from one single location. Without doubt, the market has spoken and will continue to naturally adjust. Like stated above, just here in the US, 57% of all Americans will be either a remote/gig employee. If you are an entrepreneur, then you are probably already optimizing this in your business.

If you are an organization, then finding talent willing to “show” up to an office environment of your choice will be more challenging than ever. This has widespread implications over many industries, but in the short term, remote work is here to stay as more technologies create solutions for the “New World”, post-COVID-19.

The question is: Are you ready to adapt? Is your company ready to adapt?

Written by George McGehrin — The McGehrin Group, Executive Branding and Recruiting

For close to 20 years, George has run a national executive search/recruiting firm mostly dealing with executive search and leadership at the C-Suite level such as CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, CIO roles throughout the US, Europe, and South America. Clients include small startups to global organizations, most companies that you will have heard of or products that you have been impacted by. Besides managing his recruiting firm, he also works with similar executives in terms of helping them empower their careers, both on the branding and coaching side of the business. His LinkedIn can be found here: ​



Top 30 most influential headhunter in the US; Expertise branding top executives in $300K -$5MM range. Alum from Seton Hall and Oxford. Ultra & Marathon Runner

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George McGehrin

Top 30 most influential headhunter in the US; Expertise branding top executives in $300K -$5MM range. Alum from Seton Hall and Oxford. Ultra & Marathon Runner