Is the gig economy really such a bad thing?

Day after day the gig economy is mentioned in the media and generally not in a good way.  But is it all bad?

The gig economy gives work opportunities to freelance individuals and contractors.  There are hundreds of industries that would not be profitable if it wasn’t for the self employed.  Small builders, for example, do not necessarily have continuous work year round for bricklayers or plumbers.  If they employed any of these tradespeople they would be making them redundant again a few weeks later.  The squeeze put on this particular industry by successive governments has, quite frankly, been shocking and damaging.

The most recent gig economy trail blazers, such as Uber and Deliveroo have created an alternative to the well-established service sectors  and become popular with consumers for delivering better value for money.  However, although some of their operational practices are in a grey area that have landed them in trouble with the Employment Tribunal, it’s possible for HR departments to see opportunities here.  If you have competitors who are winning the hearts and minds as well as the purse strings of the consumer then why not get ahead of them?

How can you do that?

It’s possible you are already tapping into the gig economy with contract workers at various levels.

Using gig economy workers in a responsible way, creates a more flexible workforce.  There are already, online platforms where freelancers in a wide variety of industries, register and upload their CVs.  Organisations with a need for a particular resource on a short term or ad-hoc basis can search for the freelancer with the best experience and contact them regarding the work/project.

This interaction between organisation and freelancer offers;

  • flexible employment for those that don’t wish to work full time or for one employer
  • real expertise where required in an organisation albeit on a short term basis
  • departmental exposure to individuals with different experiences

The important thing is to recognise the difference between ’employed’ and ‘self employed’ and if in doubt contact HMRC for their advice.

Hunt 4 Office Solutions provides an opportunity for companies without the resources for a permanent employee, to outsource payroll, HR services, employee benefits or one off project management.