Gig economy shaping the future of the workforce
Though the gig economy was kick-started by service hailing startups such as Uber, Ola, Swiggy, etc., it has now spread its wings to creative and knowledge-intensive startups as well. The challenges, opportunities and new doors opened by the gig economy will be responsible for the future of the workforce. Here are a few ways in which the gig world is changing the way people work.
Produce or Perish
Unshackled from the confines of the desks and living in a world without managers the gig workers seem like they are living the utopian life. However, not everything is as blingy and shiny as it seems on the surface. Though gig workers are free from the mundane schedules and strict clock hours, they are still bound by the strict number of deliverables. In the world of freelancing, there are no coffee machine talks or office club meet-ups that are paid for.
As freelancers earn on project basis, each and every hour counts and every minute wasted is reflected in the monthly balance sheets. On one hand, gig economy has freed freelancers from mundane routines and on the other hand, it has got new handcuffs that say produce or perish.
The gig economy brought with it many other industries and one of them is the co-working space. These creative spaces meant for people who love to work independently have created their own niche in the world of freelancing. However, not every freelancer is seen working in these plush co-working spaces. A lot of them skip such pretty creative spaces for several reasons such as costs and accessibility. The lack of office space has again generated mixed responses. In one way, there is freedom to work from home in your pyjamas, however, the absence of exclusive workspace and limited interaction with new people sometimes feels claustrophobic.
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of these words - freelancers and routines, is that they cannot co-exist. The popular notion is that the gig economy is devoid of all kinds of routines. However, the surprising truth is that this notion is far from reality. Most freelancers follow a stringent routine to keep themselves motivated. One of the main reasons for this is to keep a work-life balance while working from home or a coffee shop. The blur lines between home and work are often made more explicit by strict routines.
One of the main reasons for a massive shift from corporate or full-time jobs to freelance work is the lack of purpose in corporate positions. In the gig economy, the autonomy to choose your own projects gives the power to align your day to day work with your larger purpose. Hence, the freelance economy is definitely opening doors to more and more meaningful work.
Humans are social animals and the innate need for social contact never goes away. As much as employees complain about office politics, there is no denying that managers and peers serve a larger purpose in professional growth. Peers act as guiding friends who share similar struggles, while managers validate individual work and efforts. Independent workers or freelancers are at a high risk of suffering from loneliness.
The lack of social contact as well as lack of continuous support from work pals may inhibit professional growth.
However, most freelancers are finding ways to get through this by joining freelancer support groups, networking clubs and online forums.
Peer reviews or manager recommendations can no longer measure success.
Team dynamics may not play a huge role in measuring the success of a freelancer who works from a remote location. Hence, success measurement is undergoing a significant shift with the rise of the gig economy.
The good old days when managers would actively participate in charting out the career path are gone, the onus of defining career paths now lies entirely on the freelancer.
Workplaces are changing and so is the way people function at workplaces. The future holds limitless possibilities for the gig economy, as more and more organizations and employees are inclining towards independent work dynamics. It won’t be long before gig economy becomes the new normal and working full-time will become a rarity.