What really is a gig economy?
A gig economy consists of people carving a career path through freelance and contractual work – wherein the individual is paid per job, or ‘gig’, as opposed to receiving a regular salary or wage from an employer. While the term ‘gig economy’ came into being very recently, there has always been a freelance industry shrouded by mammoths of the business world. As a matter of fact, before the industrial revolution and the rise of the employee-employer contract, this arrangement was prototypical.
Today, most people look at it as the much desired antidote to a monotonous nine-to-five existence, allowing them to work with freedom and flexibility. There also exists a certain section who despises the uncertain nature of gig work and its potential for exploitation. That being said, currently the world is steadily moving towards the gig economy and while it seems like the ideal contingency plan to tackle anything remotely similar to the ominous pandemic that brought the world to a standstill, we can't help but wonder, what does the future hold for a gig workforce.
To find answers, let’s take a closer look at some interesting aspects of the gig economy and analyze what lies in store ahead.
The rise of the gig economy has made it easier for people to take charge of their work lives, giving them the freedom to work the way they want to. This very characteristic of the gig economy can be greatly tempting for creative or skilled professionals such as content writers, web developers, etc. who can maximize their skills through an unrestrained, unrestricted work set up. Further, if we try to understand basic human nature, it becomes evident that the lack of autonomy, ownership and flexibility can lead to people feeling disgruntled and detached from their work. This is a clear indicator of the fact that full-time employment isn’t for everyone.
For most people, the deal-breaker in a full-time employment set up would be that the employer principally owns the employee's skills; employers believe they have the right to use them as they desire and as in line with the employment contract and job designation. In essence, the employer buys the rights to an individual's skills for a monthly fee which is the salary. However, on the flipside, the gig economy allows an individual to take absolute charge of their skills and knowledge.
The future of Gig work holds great potential because it tends to be more meaningful and rewarding in more than just the monetary aspect. The simple fact that you are building your own brand instead of someone else’s makes this type of work intrinsically motivating in the long run.
Unlike traditional employment, gig work focuses on results instead of embroiling processes. Gig workers or freelancers are evaluated and paid based on their ability to deliver results. How they achieve their targets is completely up to them. This allows freelancers to tap into their natural reserves of perception, imaginative thinking and self-reliance.
Also, the biggest advantage of gig work lies in its integration with technology because needless to say, the future of India’s start-ups and its gig economy lies in digital innovations and a robust digitized ecosystem. A major part of the gig economy, digital marketplaces are now signing up demand-driven service providers skilled in niche areas such as beauty, fitness, plumbing, electrical repairs, etc. and offer these services to consumers on a contractual basis as per requirements. This business model allows for the service providers to communicate with the end users directly through the app according to their terms and conditions. This opens up a world of opportunities for the freelance workforce.
To conclude, the gig economy has certainly led to the transformation of India’s work culture, with enhanced flexibility and freedom, overriding the traditional relationship shared between an employer and employee. In a developing country like India, the potential advantages of the gig economy are going to be numerous. Particularly for women, it is going to be an important step towards professional and financial freedom as it will give them the flexibility they need to perfect their work-life balance.
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 the gig economy becomes the new normal and working full-time, a rarity.