Will the Gig Economy Bring an End to the Traditional 9-to-5?

What your business needs to know about the gig economy.

Office life has drastically changed over the years, and we’re not just talking about the sounds of clacking typewriters or occasional cocktails at the V.P.’s office bar. We’re talking major upheavals that may ultimately spell the end of the traditional 9-to-5 workday. Welcome to the “gig economy,” a free market system in which contracted, sometimes short-term positions, are commonly used by businesses...often in favor of full-time employees. The Harvard Business Review states that roughly 150 million workers in North America and Western Europe now work as independent contractors.

So, is this new culture a good fit for your business? Here are some of the pros and cons.

What are the benefits?

The gig economy can mean large savings for businesses big and small. Traditional recruiting methods are costly and timely. And if you’re looking to hire millennials (who make up nearly 40% of the current workforce), a freelance position will likely be more attractive to them than having a cubicle to call their own. According to a study reported by Forbes, 87% of millennials want to work according to their own schedule and 92% say they prefer to work remotely.

Another benefit: No benefits! Okay, follow me on this one. Benefits total more than 30% of employees’ total compensation packages. Nearly 43% of businesses using gig workers save up to 20% in labor costs. That’s a nice chunk of change! So, it’s time to go gig or go home, right? Well…not so fast.

Do you even know what your current internet plan is?

This may seem like a silly question, but many small businesses don’t keep track of what internet plan they’re on and don’t think about upgrading their package as their business grows in size. Contact your ISP today and find out what your current plan is.

What are the disadvantages?

Freelancers are often free spirits, and you may find that some have commitment issues. While you may want to hold onto the ones who do outstanding work, gig workers often have no need (and, fundamentally, no desire) to engage in long-term relationships with employers. Business consultants Ground Floor Partners suggest that gig workers aren’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder. “They are more interested in growing their own business rather than someone else’s,” they state, “and it’s tough for a business to grow if it doesn’t have its own pool of full-time employees.” It’s also tough to establish team cohesion if your office is a revolving door of freelancers.

How can I prepare for it?

Thinking of dipping your toe in the gig economy but don’t know where to start? There are steps you can take to make your business ready to accommodate the traffic of short-term and remote workers and—while you’re at it—your BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) employees as well. New, flexible and scalable communications services such as Hosted Voice, Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) and other fiber-based and cloud solutions allow you and your gig workers to stay securely connected, whether they’re working in your office or from home.

Need to up your communications game to keep up with the gig economy? Connect with us today to learn how we can help you accommodate a staff of full-time and freelance workers efficiently and securely with our suite products and solutions.

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