Remember Gig Workers as Your Organization Adapts to New Ways of Working

by Jeff Wald

Gig workers have shown themselves to be crucial to your business, and it's important to show them how much you appreciate their efforts.

Business of all types, industries and sizes have moved to new ways of working, relying on remote work more than ever. Considering the global health event, we are experiencing today, businesses across the globe are implementing ad-hoc remote work strategies on the fly. With very little time to plan and the situation changing rapidly, companies are moving as fast as they can to keep their workers safe and productive.

But are they thinking about their entire workforce? What about their extended workforce? Contractors, freelancers, temps, contingent workers and vendors make up an increasingly critical part of most companies' workers and should be considered too.

Given the significance of the gig workforce, companies are encouraged to consider their entire workforce when setting out plans for navigating the challenges of COVID-19.

As full-time workers adjust to working from home … remember that gig workers generally are accustomed to working as part of a remote team.

- Jeff Wald, Founder, WorkMarket, an ADP Company

The gig workforce tends to be the first cut companies make during changing times. Of course, every company must look after its long-term viability, but gig workers have become an important part of many companies' workforces.

Much as companies are doing what they can to sustain their teams during a crisis, with many rallying cries of "we are in this together" and "we take care of each other," remember that gig workers contribute a significant amount to deliver on overall business goals, hence the term "extended workforce."

Gig workers typically have less access to the social safety net, and limited access to unemployment funds. With that in mind, organizations are encouraged to look for ways to include and support this key workforce group. For example, organizations could offer gig workers access to some benefits, such as paid leave or sick days. Allowing them to buy into healthcare programs would go a long way to helping provide greater stability for gig workers and the businesses they serve. Gig workers have a sense of community and tend to remember who stuck by them.

As full-time workers adjust to working from home (where they can/must), remember that gig workers generally are accustomed to working as part of a remote team. They are typically ready to jump into tasks quickly and can help the broader team adjust to a world they already know. This can be helpful in the days, weeks, and even months to come.

As you manage gig workers, follow these golden gig rules:

  • Honour all agreed payment terms. Pay them on-time as you would your full-time employees.
  • Don't automatically cancel existing work. Instead look for ways to factor gig work into adjusted project plans.
  • Communicate early and often. Make sure to include gig workers in company communications.
  • If you are giving your workers a bonus payment, as some companies have announced, look for ways to include your extended workforce.

While gig workers are not technically "employees" from a regulatory standpoint in terms of economic dependence or control, this does not remove your social responsibilities. These workers have shown themselves to be crucial to your business, and it's important to show them how much you appreciate their efforts. Use this time to continue to grow your relationship with your extended workforce as they are already an important part of your team and could become even more so as the future of work unfolds.

Learn more

Find FAQs, checklists, webcasts, and the resources to help you protect and manage your workforce here: ADP Employer Preparedness Toolkit — Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

This article originally appeared in Spark Powered by ADP.

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