The Indian workplace is undergoing a revolution today, with more young talent joining the 21st-century workforce and looking for opportunities to match their aspirations. As the norm of the conventional 9-to-5 work culture loses steam, a frontrunner is emerging in the form of the gig revolution. In a recent survey by Noble House, 81 percent of employers stated that they had hired a gig employee during the last one year. What’s more, the focus is now slowly shifting from only growth to improving the productivity and efficiency of actual work.
The gig evolution
Gig workers are now an integral cog in the workforce, contributing their skills to start-ups and corporates alike. Employers value them for their availability to perform specialized tasks and even fill temporary roles, without incurring the responsibilities of a full-time employee.
According to a recent report by Noble House, the gig economy is predicted to be a huge driver of growth in corporate India as this contingent workforce is set to revolutionize conventional workplace dynamics. While the idea of ‘work from home’ even existed in the 90’s, exceptional connectivity and high-speed internet has enabled people to work anytime and from anywhere today. The report also shows that in current times, flexibility has a direct impact on productivity. According to 63 percent of organizations, a flexible time and space arrangement not only boosts productivity but also enhances employee satisfaction by bringing down stress. Additionally, more than 50 percent of employers didn’t mind where the employee is working from, or their style of working, so long as projects get delivered on time.
Gig employees: The impact on productivity
Employers are now open to hiring on-demand talent that delivers without any hassles. This has not only opened up opportunities for employers but also for gig workers. The demand is increasing as 53 percent of organizations absorbed gig workers in the last two years, while only 6 percent declined to hire any freelancers due to a lack of company policies around this. Hiring gig workers has many benefits, more so for the small or medium scale enterprises. Gig workers are usually specialists in their domain with experience to effectively and quickly deliver projects. Thus, they bring talent diversity to the company. Further, since the gig workers are often remote employees, the company doesn’t need to incur expenditure on building infrastructure for them. At the same time, since gig employees are time-bound to deliver an agreed amount of work, they are unlikely to get involved with the company’s internal machinations or corporate politics, which can make full-time employees less productive.
The advent of the gig economy raises questions for the need for the traditional 8-hour workday. The Noble House survey found that 75 percent of the employers/managers feel that the maximum productivity their employers deliver is up to six hours in an 8-hour shift. More than half of the respondents claimed that the actual productive hours were five hours or less. With facts supporting the lack of efficiency of regular 8 hours or more shifts, it is no surprise that gig work arrangement are increasingly winning favor among employers. 44 percent of companies are readily offering flexible work hours to their employees, intending to maximize productivity. As digitalization and internet accessibility increases, verticals like admin and legal, product and operations, marketing, and human resources are showing a remarkable ability to function even without a traditional 9-to-5 schedule.
Is gigging for everyone?
Whether or not gigging is India’s cup of tea depends on how well we can embrace it, on the employer and worker front. It is easy to feel either exploited or empowered, especially if you are a first-timer and a lot depends on the attitude you bring to the table. A rising start-up with funds to fuel its growth plans can opt to grab as much talent from the market as possible, but a smart modern company can still run operations smoothly with a tighter budget by hiring gig workers.
When hiring gig workers, companies need to devise a different way of managing them. While 33 percent of employers in India have a defined process in place for monitoring progress, almost 49 percent did not use any formal monitoring system. However, in the absence of a unified hiring network, a majority of employers (nearly 30 percent) are dependent on third-party gig agencies, while a few used various online platforms offering services by gig workers.
For gig workers, the story often centers around work-life balance. A flexible schedule allows them more time for other things like pursuing hobbies, spending quality time with family and kids, or only taking up other gigs for additional cash. As young professionals turn away from the regular 9-to-5 schedule to explore life or travel, the fast-paced gig work culture makes it easy to maintain an upward career graph even amidst all the chaos.
The way forward
The gig economy is here to stay and the world of gigging packs in all the excitement you need. As the corporate world opens doors to it, the unorganized gig economy is evolving into a significant disruption that India Inc. is beginning to embrace. Even amidst practical challenges such as a traditional mindset, lack of streamlined networking platforms, and the absence of a formal regulatory framework, the rise of the gig economy is under no threat. It is certainly proving to be a win-win for both the employers and gig workers and the proof is in the numbers. Business leaders are evaluating its real impact on business, in terms of cost and efficiency and finding it a credible talent strategy. It is redefining the way Indian organizations can function and deliver, depending on the symbiotic exchange of mindsets and realistic expectations. And this is only the beginning of a transformational journey into the flexibility-efficiency continuum of the gig universe.