The term “gig economy” refers to a small but burgeoning work sector composed of freelancers who thrive on “gigs,” working at informal locations such as coffeehouses or paying for hourly office rental services. In this blog, 191 Works shares a look at how this growing sector has driven changes to the traditional workplace and vice versa.
The Gig Economy
Freelancers and independent contractors are the backbone of the gig economy. Jobs such as freelance writing and independent recruiting, as well as renting out homes and driving for ridesharing services, fall outside the scope of traditional employment. These jobs offer much more flexibility in terms of time, work output and geographical location. Workers in the gig economy have special freedom to work as they please, which can be a necessity for people who would otherwise not be able to hold a standard full-time job.
Changes to Traditional Employment
The rise of the gig economy has provided a way for workers to find an alternative mode of employment, with more than a few finding freelance work more favorable to their lifestyle. Some even find meeting room rentals more economical than the money and time spent on commuting to and from work.
This shift in employment options has prompted employers to focus on employee retention. Companies are beginning to offer generous compensation packages, flexible work hours and customized benefits as a way to entice their employees to stay. The capability to work from home also lets employees take better care of their health.
How Workplaces Affect the Gig Economy
The relationship between the gig economy and traditional workplaces has been mutually beneficial. Technologies such as VoIP, secure VPN connections and proprietary messaging systems—previously the province of companies that could afford the infrastructure—are now within reach of freelancers. Companies can extend their workforce by hiring freelancers to handle surplus work caused by unexpected demand. This yin and yang relationship continues to benefit workers in both sectors, resulting in favorable work environments for all.