The gig economy has shown staggering growth, with about 60 million Americans transforming their traditional careers into flexible freelancing gigs. That’s roughly 39% of all U.S. workers choosing to become their own boss in 2022 compared to 36% the previous year. Pandemic job losses initially drove millions to make the switch, but with so many employers struggling to fill positions an interesting dynamic is occurring. The way gig workers pick up micro-shifts is now trickling into mainstream business. I’ve noticed the trend with my gig-work staffing agency, GravyWork, which recently partnered with a professional employment organization.
PEOs almost always follow a very traditional schedule for full-time employees (FTEs) whose employer engages their services to manage employment, payroll and benefits. Now, even the most traditional employers that are used to having 40-hour work weeks with a static job description now realize that they can no longer effectively manage their workforce with that sort of antiquated model. So they’re emulating the gig economy for their own internal workforce management. Companies increasingly will allow FTEs to choose their own shifts based on hourly blue-collar practices. They’re also expected to recognize – just as the gig economy does –pay differentials for peak vs. off-peak hours, times that were normally not classified in this way.
Instead of filling an eight-hour shift for five days a week, more employers might choose 10, four-hour shifts that FTEs trade off or those outside the internal ecosystem pick up. Under this model, it becomes less about who is doing the work and more about the work getting done in the fairest possible way. This gives employers an ability to place a higher value on some of their shifts and more control of the process, while employees more flexibility about how they want to work, helping mitigate the amount of hours they work and concentrate more on their own health and work-life balance.