The New Workplace in the Gig Economy

They say we are moving to a Gig economy and what does that mean for the workplace? This basically means that workers will be working on a contingent basis and really only work as required. This could be your Uber driver who chooses to login whenever he pleases and start making some cash, or perhaps an independent contractor who signs on with a company only to complete one project. We will have a specific skill set and take that to multiple employers (if we will still call them that) and do our work and get out. No more pensions (a what?), or benefits, or vacation time. This is just my own perception of what that might look like and here is my explanation as to why we are quickly headed in that direction.

Reason one, there are no incentives to stay with a company for a long period of time. For the most part unless you work for the government you will not have a pension. Salary increases will happen once a year and you will move up slowly if at all. As opposed to resigning from your role and  moving companies,  which can come with a 30% increase and a promotion.

My next reason is that people want to go where the interesting work is. For the most part, high performing employees are looking for a challenge so once they lose that they will start looking elsewhere for the next cool project. People will jump from company to company every 3 or 4 years in pursuit of more interesting work that they would not get exposure to if they become silohed in one company. People get bored fast and in the age of talent mobility people can easily move countries if they please to find awesome work.

The third reason, is that everyone and their mother is or wants to be an entrepreneur. And why wouldn’t they? Set your own rules, choose your work, work when you want, where you want, how you want…man why do people still work for companies? (Just kidding!)

My final reason is that people are becoming segregated from the workplace. If you aren’t letting employees work from home at this point you are seriously missing out on a great benefit. Most workplaces are mobile meaning that everyone has a laptop and cellphone and can work from any remote location. Very few of our roles actually require us to be in the office. Some offices have also moved to shared workspaces, so you just show up and sit any where you choose, you don’t have an assigned desk.

So between mobility and boredom people are starting to disengage faster and faster. They want to move around and be challenged constantly. Please remember I am talking about the high performers, not average Joe who leaves at 4:59pm every night and just sort of bumbles along.

I look forward to seeing how the workforce changes over the next few years. I’ll be watching with popcorn, just trying to stay relevant.

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