Amid all the ambiguity and doubt fostered during the last few months, if anything is clear it is the fact that remote working and digital transformation of organizations are elements that are here to stay for a while - adoption, agility and aggrandize will help us walk the path.
Remote working and digital transformation will enable & empower every individual, immaterial of the location they are in, and therefore the concept of a ‘gig economy’ is something I strongly believe is going to restructure workplaces of the future.
Infrastructure technologies such as broadband connectivity, amongst others, have grown exponentially in recent years and that is becoming even more prominent if you simply evaluate how consumption patterns across different online platforms have shot up across developing countries, led by India (Tik-Tok & Youtube being eminent examples). A gig economy is all about utilizing these enhanced capabilities by carrying out the same functions an individual would within the confines of a workplace - at his home with the added flexibility of remote working.
To elaborate further - the model of stringers in the PR world has been working well for really long or tech support being given from India to a US customer, if done right, one won’t need an office to provide support. Yes, technological barriers will exist, but we will be able to overcome these obstacles once we change the way we think, by shifting to new ideologies.
I believe there are 5 Cs to primarily look at when reimagining the workplace of tomorrow propelled by the characteristics of a gig economy -
It goes without saying that technological & automated solutions are already salient components of current business protocols and processes - and are here to stay. Along with virtual collaboration and cloud technology, innovations such as ‘The Internet of Things - IoT’ and smart technology are going to be key drivers behind the concept of a gig economy. Cloud storage & collaboration facilitates seamless remote working by lowering dependency on each other as well as increasing transparency.
The post COVID-19 scenario is going to result in changed consumer behavior, different spending habits, and refined laws of demand & supply. Redesigning our thinking and strategies at user-centric level keeping the new normal in mind will be critical. Similarly, embracing and mastering new forms of technology that are here to ease processes and functions will be inevitable in a remote gig economy.
The atmosphere and environment of a physical workplace should not be undervalued when considering the morale and culture of a workforce. Human morale, body language, and raw emotion are pillars forming core organization values. A lack of physical interaction and engagement also fosters negative emotions such as ambiguity and doubt. It will be as important as ever to maintain a vibrant and positive culture even in the gig economies of tomorrow. In order to encourage positivity, we’ve adopted measures - which are here to stay post-crisis as well - daily synchronizations (streamlines collaboration & increases transparency), regularly reviewing & acknowledging accomplishments (offers a sense of value & belongingness), and cultivating virtual bonding/morale (helps reinforce organization cultures & values).
Virtual collaboration will lead to reduced time spent on general commutes. This holds true not only on a professional and corporate level but across the general life of individuals. With this lockdown, we have realized what’s business essential commute is - it is not all that hard to work from remote locations and yet deliver with the same efficiency if not more. Daily commute or migration for work, these concepts will slowly find a new purpose and will result in greater productivity for businesses & for individuals. All these signals will ensure the availability of a larger workforce & will pave the way for a gig economy.
Connectivity & Connections
In continuation from the point above, virtual interaction will give rise to increased connectivity on not just a national scale, but international as well. This will help diversify and link industries and businesses across geographical boundaries and give lease to a new form of cooperation and collaboration backed by technological developments and remote working environments. Industries and economies related to geographic regions will slowly fade away into being a thing of the past.
The pre-crisis period we were in, was primarily still operating based on physical workplaces and environments, with only a fraction of protocols being adapted to online platforms. In the post-crisis period, we all see a shift - with digital paving the way for the physical. Real face-to-face engagement will still exist - but we are yet to see the extent to which it will surely reduce. Shifts in ideologies and thinking must be made towards a gig economy which will help us adapt and maximize the new situations we will find ourselves in.