Freelance work isn’t new, but recently it has come to the forefront of attention as more workers and businesses embrace the gig economy. A whopping 36% of employed Americans identified as independent workers in 2022 – up from 27% in 2016.
Across industries, with the gig economy in full swing, businesses can scale their workforces to meet high demand or control costs when times are tough. It also allows them to bring in specialized expertise when needed.
Beyond the 9-to-5 Workforce
Workers across industries from healthcare to education and government are taking a hard look at the advantages of gig work.
- Healthcare – One of the hallmarks of the new economy is the appearance of gig workers in places you don’t expect, like hospitals. Nurses have been sourced through agencies for quite some time. But what about doctors? More physicians are embracing the gig economy. As community hospitals face a labor shortage, they increasingly turn to “physicians-for-hire.” At the same time, more doctors are looking for a better work-life balance.
- Hospitality – Hotel and restaurant operations have long depended upon contract workers, from bartenders to front desk staff. This approach allows managers to add staff as business swells over holidays, then scale back as demand softens. Scheduling has become more challenging in the wake of the pandemic. Many laid-off workers have migrated to other careers. Now, hospitality leaders hope to fill the gap with gig workers.
- Education – The pandemic also kicked off a teacher shortage, and administrators struggle to fully staff their schools. As of February 2023, there were nearly 150,000 more job openings than hires. One way to close this gap is to hire substitute teachers – another traditional type of gig worker. However, these workers are also in short supply, with 20% of requests for substitutes going unfulfilled.
- Government – We don’t often consider contract workers’ significant role in making government services available to the public. Yet, gig work is pervasive across federal and local agencies. Public agencies are the biggest employers of contract workers who fill temporary and seasonal positions in parks, schools, and offices. Gig workers play crucial roles as electoral workers and are essential for long-term research work.
- Financial Services – These institutions face two issues in the gig economy. First, they need to contract IT workers to help with software development as they ramp up new apps to enhance the customer experience. As this part of their specialized workforce grows, financial institutions have a lucrative opportunity to build services that will meet gig workers’ consumer and employment needs.
Role of Unified Communications and Collaboration
Organizations that want to thrive in this new way of working – and attract top talent – need the right technologies to connect and empower gig workers.
- Healthcare Providers Collaborating in Harmony – Healthcare staff need constant communication. Whether it’s a small rural hospital or a sprawling urban healthcare system, staying connected is vital. Full-time and gig workers need real-time, secure access to patient information and hospital systems. Healthcare communications solutions that streamline workflows make it easy for remote nurses and contract physicians to stay connected and deliver quality care from their mobile devices.
- Hotel Staff on the Road with Mobile Communications – Like their guests, hotel staff are always on the move. And whether they’re on the top floor or another property, they must be reachable. Mobile solutions allow hotels to deliver exceptional guest experiences while also streamlining operations. For gig workers to collaborate effectively, communications should be integrated with existing hospitality apps. A single communications and collaboration application allows hospitality workers to access everything they need without missing a beat.
- Educators want Plug-and-play Flexibility – Substitute teachers need the same access to communications and collaboration tools as permanent staff. Flexible solutions that integrate with existing applications like Google Workspace are necessary for any school district. Your UC solution should also be subscription-based, so adding and removing substitute teachers doesn’t bust your budget.
- Cost Efficiency in the Public Sector – Like other industries, public sector entities face tremendous pressure to stay within budget and deliver a fast ROI on systems. Yet communications solutions must be powerful enough to collaborate across departmental teams. Cost-effective integrations with existing systems and flexible deployment options will help you control your budget while securely supporting your workforce.
- Financial Service Providers Need to Adapt to a New Beat – The gig economy is about flexibility, speed, and ease of use. That’s what today’s workers want in every gig and what they want in a bank. With a solution built specifically for financial services, you can engage with customers on their preferred channels and seamlessly move between them. Your gig employees will benefit, too: they’re empowered with real-time client information and tools that help them improve performance, such as interaction recording and workforce management.
Learn how TCI can help your organization leverage the gig economy – no matter what industry you’re in. Contact us at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.