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Learnings from the gig economy can benefit your business

3 lessons from the gig economy to help you improve productivity, engagement and happiness in your workforce.

Society is becoming increasingly ‘on-demand’ and work is now no different. The way we think about work is changing and one of the biggest drivers behind this change is the gig economy.

Despite issues including uncertain income, income insurance and lack of rights, the gig economy is thriving, with almost a quarter of all US workers deemed as gig workers. It’s popularity is fuelled by workers who want control over their lives and to choose how and when they work.

Thanks to the gig economy, employees now expect to have more control over when they work, a stronger purpose and to be able to use technology to enhance their work lives.

While it’s not always possible for large companies who rely on the deskless workforce to use a ‘true’ gig economy model, there are still three main learnings they can take from the successes of the gig economy:

1. Flexibility is key

Flexibility is especially important for younger generations in the workforce. Let’s start by taking a look at the stats:

  • 72% of Gen Z and 53% of Millennials say flexibility in employee schedules is more important than health benefits.

  • 72% of Gen Z and 71% of Millennials say flexibility is a right not a benefit.

  • 92% of all employees appreciate having flexibility with their schedule.

Looking at the statistics, it’s notable that it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to be able to deliver true flexible working to their employees. To a certain extent, it’s easy for white collar office workers to enjoy the benefits of flexible working. Traditionally, this hasn’t been the case for blue collar workers. But thanks to technology and advanced workforce management systems, this is changing.

The statistics also tell that flexibility is the second-most important factor workers look for in a job behind salary. For workers in manual and elementary service roles in particular, offering more flexibility when it comes to switching shifts or offering greater visibility of staffing schedules can make a huge difference to your employees’ job satisfaction.

The idea of flexible working is too however often equated with lower productivity and increased costs. With the combination of flexible working and having the right tools and technology, your business can achieve the contrary. How does improved productivity, saved time, reduced costs, improved employee retention and increased employee happiness sound to you?

2. A mobile mindset enables flexibility

Offering greater flexibility in the workplace works best when it’s completed with a mobile mindset. Some of the gig economy’s biggest successes - from ride hailing services through to couriers - wouldn’t be possible without mobile technology.

For Millennials (who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025) and Gen Z, a mobile phone is an integral and essential part of their lives. And it’s for this reason it should be integrated into their work lives.

In a study carried out with Gap stores in the US, 95% of part-time workers strongly agreed that using an app makes it easy for them to adjust their schedules in order to fit their needs.

A WFM app does just that. It makes it easy and straight-forward for managers to open up shifts or approve shift swaps while at the same time empowering the employees to take control over their own schedule. An app radically transforms the lives of your employees, making it easy for them to get paid, get their jobs done on time, switch or take on more shifts, apply for leave, communicate with their colleagues. The list goes on.

3. A stronger purpose makes employees stay

People working in the gig economy often report having a stronger sense of purpose. They are more connected to their work and find it more meaningful. With this heightened sense of purpose, they are more productive and engaged with their work. In short, they are happier. This is what businesses can achieve with happy employees:

  • A 20% increase in profits and productivity.

  • Lower staff turnover and absence.

  • Higher sales.

  • A tenth of the number of sick days compared to a disengaged workforce.

The gig economy is by no means perfect but its attractions are undeniable. The good news is, forward-thinking companies can offer all the benefits of the gig economy to their employees by putting flexibility first, adopting a mobile mindset and investing in the right technology.

Download our latest guide to see what trends are driving workforce management forward in 2020 and beyond.

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