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The Future of Work: What Employers Should Know About the Gig Economy

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday July 2, 2019

Updated : Tuesday March 1, 2022

The workforce is changing. Demographics are shifting, new roles are appearing, and trends are emerging. Agile employers on top of the latest workplace trends have undoubtedly heard the newest buzzword: the gig economy.

What is the Gig Economy?

A gig is no longer just for musicians. From graphic designers, website developers to writers, robotics engineers, and drivers, these are all members of this new style of work.

A gig worker receives income from the “gig” (i.e., completing a project) as opposed to someone employed with a salary. As an example, consider a freelance graphic designer creating a new website for your business. You won’t need a new website every week, so you pay them for the project (the “gig”) and they continue to offer their services elsewhere.

What Impact Will the Gig Economy Have?

Approximately 150 million workers in North America and Western Europe work as part of the gig economy. 

Attracting and Retaining Gig Workers with Employee Benefits and Culture

Before adopting gig work as part of your organization, here are a few things to consider:

Pros for Adding Gig Workers

Cons for a Adding Gig Workers

The Gig Economy and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic sent Canadians across the country home for work or in many cases, put them out of work, prompting “side hustles” and new business ventures for many (aka gig work).

Due to this shift, employers and employees alike had to learn and adapt to remote work and now the question has become: is working from home here to stay?

Many experts say yes, yet as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we can easily for see a continued reliance on remote work and an increased interest from employees who are nervous about returning to their regular workplace.

5 Considerations for Today’s Gig Economy

The gig economy continues to grow and influence the way Canadian’s work. As a Canadian employer, it’s important to consider whether or not gig workers make sense for your business. 

Consideration #1: Shifting Mindset 

The traditional mindset towards work is that an employee only works for one employer. With the rise of this new nature of work, we see a shifting mindset towards work, with employees working for more than one employer.

Consideration #2: Larger Employee Pool

When hiring, you are no longer limited to your geographical area. Employees can perform their work from other cities or even other countries!

Consideration #3: Office-Centric Culture will Change

The gig economy affords employees the ability to work outside the office environment. With more employees working elsewhere, office-centric culture may not be a consideration in future retention strategies.

Consideration #4: New Work Policies

Workplaces will need to look at their policies to see how to extend them to gig workers. For example, establishing expectations will be important in environments where employees are left to their own devices.

Consideration #5: Not all Work Can be a Part of the Gig Economy 

There will always be positions that require a full-time employee.

This new economy isn’t going anywhere soon, and employers who want to ready themselves for the impending changes to the way people work should keep the above in mind.