The changing nature of the workforce and how to manage it

by | 30.11.2016
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As a market-leader in workforce management software, it’s our job to keep track on how the workforce is changing in order to keep providing the highest quality product for our customers and potential customers.

 

And we see new challenges every year for businesses across all the industries we operate in. Top of the list in 2016 has been businesses who manage an ‘independent’ workforce, the freelancers who form the gig economy. According to a study by the Freelancers Union, this group of workers will form 50% of the total workforce by 2020.  

 

From healthcare through to logistics, travel through to hospitality, more and more businesses are utilising freelance workers or contractors in some shape or form. However, the rise of the gig economy is divisive and for everyone who praises it’s flexibility and empowerment, there will be a detractor who says it drives down wages and erodes workers’ rights.

 

So how does this changing nature of a traditional workforce into one that’s much more fluid and flexible affect businesses and employees? There are pros and cons to both sides…

 

Employees

 

The dream for the gig economy employee is to work less hours and earn more money. And while there are plenty of examples of this happening, it’s also true that employees in certain ‘gigs’ can end up earning less than they would if they were an employee of the company.

 

Freelancers enjoy elements of freedom and flexibility which aren’t always there in traditional jobs. However, they don’t receive other benefits like sick pay, holidays or job security. Also, while from the outside it might seem like the life of a contractor is a lonely one, research suggests a big reason for many gig employees is the social side of it. Supplemental earners, like retirees and empty-nesters, are the ones who say their primary motivation for taking on a role like becoming an Uber driver, is a social one.

 

And finally, the biggest benefit gig workers cite is control over when they work and how they work. Control over their schedule is something an increasing number of employees crave.

 

Businesses

 

The world of the gig economy is much more than Uber and Airbnb, although the success of these two companies has inevitably paved the way for others to follow.

 

Businesses who can offer an ‘on-demand’ service to the consumer are the ones who will benefit the most and new start-ups are looking at increasingly diverse ways of doing this, from dog walking services to cleaning companies.

 

And while businesses are able to keep labour costs down by only paying for the labour when it’s needed, they also have to deal with high turnover and low levels of ‘employee’ engagement. With a court case against Uber being heard in the UK, the landscape for businesses could be set to change yet again.

 

Workforce Management Software

 

That’s why workforce management software and the gig economy are a match made in heaven, for both the company and the employee. Businesses are able to use the software to control their costs, ensure compliance, run payroll, fill available shifts and time management.

 

And on the flipside, employees are able to use a mobile app to receive notifications on what shifts they can fill, apply for more shifts, record the hours they work and even see the tasks they have to complete.

 

Connectivity, cloud computing and mobile devices are the fuel that drives both the gig economy and workforce management software forward. Adapting to a changing workforce is something many businesses are now doing. And it’s the businesses who are doing it with workforce management software who are finding the transition much smoother.

Tommy Tonkins

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