There is a whole section of the workforce who forgoes the stability of a full-time job and contracts themselves out by the job. For many of these workers, the boom in application development has given them endless opportunities to make money. This all changed in March as government officials put forth stay-at-home orders, effectively putting millions of people out of work, and millions more displaced from their workplaces. This has had a dire effect on many of the gig workers that were making a living as more people are now trying to do whatever they can to make ends meet. Today, we thought we would look at the gig economy, how it functions, and how COVID-19 has exposed the gig economy.
How Does the Gig Economy Work?
After the 2009 financial crisis and with the development of mobile-based services, many people left the workforce to try and make a living by dismissing the notion of a traditional job, for “gigs”. Studies show that many people, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. workforce, work a “gig”. Freelancers, including many unskilled workers, who work jobs without the constraints of traditional employment, but with much less security.
With hundreds of millions of gigs out there to work, the nearly 57 million gig workers were reported to be the most satisfied group of workers in the U.S. Then came a global pandemic. Businesses pause, they fail, demand for gig workers goes down and companies look for places to find revenue. Not finding many, a lot of companies are tightening their purse strings resulting in a reduction of the quantity (and in some cases quality) of the gigs that are available.
Corporate profit is down over 25 percent compared to projections and it has left a lot of people out of work, including many, many gig workers.
Tips for People Trying to Navigate Gig Work
So you have a reduction of jobs and more people looking for opportunities. There are still a lot of them in digital work, but in order to make it work for you, you need to know where to find the opportunities and consider these practices:
- Establish routines - The gig worker needs to have routines. Work schedule is probably the biggest one. One of the benefits of not having shift work is that you can work when you please, but trying to do everything on a whim is a major challenge. In fact, without a solid work routine, the potential gig worker is sure to miss opportunities.
- Like your work - Obviously the choice of when to work will provide a different perspective than traditional work, but when you work, you have to like what you are doing. Most successful gig workers like what they do and enjoy the challenges thrown their way.
- Network - A big deal when your next job depends on someone knowing you and knowing your work. You need to continuously market yourself online. There are dozens of gig worker placement websites and once you do good work for someone, there is opportunity for recurring income. Also, if making money through gig work is your thing, meeting people that do what you do is extremely important. It gives you perspective of what you are up against and is sure to make you better at anything you are trying to do professionally.
- Be comfortable - One of the most important parts of being a gig worker is to be comfortable where and when you work. If you are trying to do professional work with many distractions around, you will find yourself struggling. Make sure you have a dedicated workspace where you can focus on your work.
While the gig economy is nowhere near where it was this time last year, there are new app-based services being developed every day and trillions of dollars to be had on the digital economy. Are you a gig worker? If so, leave some words of wisdom in the comments below and return to our blog for more great technology content.