A couple weeks ago we talked about the rising problem that is “The Great Resignation”. While employers are struggling to find ways to retain employees, the workforce has the upper hand and all the leverage. There are enough jobs available and few enough workers that employees have been forcing their hands and demanding better pay and benefits because they know there isn’t someone waiting to fill their role. In cases where employers are unable or unwilling to comply, the employees leave and go to a place that offers them what they are looking for. One of the driving factors in this paradigm power shift in the workplace is the growing popularity of the gig economy.
The gig economy is the growing free market system of independent workers. Contractors take on short-term jobs or “gigs” which they complete for a set price and then move on to their next commitment. The most common examples of people working in the gig economy are Uber and/or Lyft drivers and food delivery drivers. As a driver for Uber, you choose who to accept as a passenger and how many passengers you want to have. You also set your rates so that you control how much money you could make in a day. Of course Uber takes a percentage of what is charged, but the driver has all the control over their work schedule which gives an incredible amount of flexibility. The same thing goes for food delivery drivers. There are a variety of companies such as, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, and more that offer a ride-hailing type service for your food. In the same way, independent workers for these companies have the flexibility to choose what orders they want to pick up and can decide to do however many they desire. The food delivery services really exploded during the beginning of the pandemic. No restaurants were open for dine-in, yet people still wanted food from their favorite restaurants. Of course there was then a boom in food delivery workers because of the increase demand for the service as well as the rising unemployment rate left people looking for work.
The gig economy is not just in reference to ride-hailing and food delivery type service. In a broad sense the gig economy can represent any person that is an independent consultant or contractor. It has been shown that the flexibility that comes with being your own boss leads to increased levels of happiness. 78% of independent laborers say that they are happier working for themselves than they were working for someone else. This seems pretty obvious, but it is still good to have numbers to verify the feeling. 68% of independents also stated that they were healthier now than they were before. Being on your own schedule seems
to lead to healthier life choices. So what does this mean for the future of the traditional workplace?
Well, we have already seen that a lot of large companies are no longer forcing their employees to work within the office walls all week. When people were forced to work from home, they got accustomed to the flexibility and comfortability it offered. Now that the pandemic is mostly over, companies are figuring out hybrid methods of work to keep employees satisfied. From a corporate standpoint, as long as productivity doesn’t suffer, why not allow this added benefit of flexibility? Doing so increases the likelihood of retaining an employee who is on the fence about working a traditional in-office work week. There will be people who leave even with a modified half in-office half work from home strategy. The rise in the accessibility to enter the gig economy free market coupled with the yearning for independence that people felt during the pandemic will pull people away. The gig economy makes it easy to start your own small business. Some entrepreneurial barriers to entry are now non-existent and it is easier than ever to get your name and your brand out there through social media. The lure of entrepreneurship seems to be pulling in more and more people as the economy comes back to life and I think that is a trend that we are going to keep seeing as "working in office" turns to "working from anywhere".
Today’s song symbolizes not only the mass exodus of people from their jobs but also the mass exodus of Americans that have left the nest this past week for spring break. Hope you enjoy this classic and enjoy the rest of your spring break if you are traveling!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.