Own Your Own Gig

There’s no doubt that the gig economy is something of a revolution. How that revolution will end is an open question, but if current trends are anything to go by there are two things we can say:

  1. More sectors will turn to gig employment

but

2. Some jobs will never be gigs

Driving and food delivery have both been strong pioneers in the gig sector, helped by the fact that so many people can already drive (or cycle) and are willing to work extra hours for some extra cash.

On the other hand, it’s unlikely that a surgeon will ever be opening an app and selecting which of five waiting operations they’d like to perform. At least I hope my life doesn’t depend on whether I’m a five-star customer or not.

That may seem like a black-and-white issue for highly skilled work, but the same principle applies to any work that requires training. Till systems at retail outlets are usually navigable only by someone with experience, and there’s a reason why the service in some restaurants appears effortless, yet in others a multitude of staff seem unable to deal with the simplest request.

The gig economy may not fit every business or every sector, but a more flexible way of working can still benefit employees — if it’s implemented correctly. In this regard we can all take one lesson from the gig economy: the close link between work and reward.

Part of the appeal of gig work is the promise that a shortfall in the weekly budget can be filled by working a few more hours. This is especially useful when many gig employers pay on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, giving workers a direct way to address short-term cash problems.

Even sectors that are resistant to a gig economy model won’t be able to hold back the tide of flexible working. Workers now have a greater choice of how they work, and how they get paid. A service like Wagestream lets an employer pay their staff as soon as they’ve earned, giving them the flexibility they need without being driven from an industry, or an employer, altogether. It’s like reaping the rewards of the gig economy without having to change the way the business operates.

We may not all end up as gig workers, but the days of fixed hours and fixed paychecks are numbered.