By Bhasker Kode, Founder of Bon (a fin-tech company that provides instant credit to the on-demand economy.)
September 6 2019: When Deloitte released its Mass Career Customization (MCC) programme in 2009, Time magazine reported that Chris Keehn was one of the first employees to take advantage of the program. A soft-spoken tax accountant in Deloitte's downtown Chicago office, Keehn often used to go for 24 hours at a stretch without seeing his 4-year-old daughter awake. Realizing that he wanted to spend more time with his daughter and less time commuting, Keehn took up telecommuting for four days in a week.
Fast forward to the present. Global Workplace Analytics reported the numbers of U.S. employees working from home had increased to an astounding rate of 103 percent over the past decade. A 2015 Gallup survey pegged 37 percent of U.S. workers who say that they telecommute, which is four times greater than the 9 percent who telecommuted in 1995.
Remote workspaces which enable freelancing and support the gig economy work structure are slowly replacing brick and mortar buildings. Randstad India’s 2016 survey on workplace flexibility revealed that 1 in 2 Indian employees prefer telecommuting. As much as the steady but sure change in this trend has been over the past couple of decades, virtual teams working on multiple different freelance projects enabled due to technology and collaboration tools will be the wave that the future of work will ride on. Today, 1 out of every 4 freelancers globally is from India. Platforms such as Flexingit and Lancify are making it easier for them to earn on their own terms.
Keeping up with this trend I would like to shed light on the 6 reasons why I think the Indian gig economy will only keep growing in numbers:
- High end technology: Technological disruptions have in many ways changed the manner in which employers interact with their employees. A critical dimension of this change has been on the nature of work. Flexible work is slowly becoming a preferred option for the urban employers. With reports showing the rise in the number of freelancers within urban spaces, many modern workplaces are also gradually shifting to this shift in working culture.
- The want for work-life balance: The burgeoning millennial workforce, who according to the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, will account for 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, is driving the creation of this virtual workforce. Millennials being digital natives prefer work cultures that employ technology to accommodate their work and family life. This includes the preference of workplaces offering the option of freelancing with projects that suit them best
- Thanks to the super collaboration tools: The future of work will include changing business models where technological empowerment will empower the rise of self-employment leading to a greater gig economy. The key to the success of virtually connected but geographically agnostic teams lies in deploying the right technologies that facilitates collaboration while aiding in strategy, planning and knowledge sharing. This is what will maximize efficiency, productivity and help establish the future workplace
- Increased productivity: The economics of freelance workers go beyond mere monetary savings. Increased productivity, which adds indirectly to profitability, is amplified with work from home workers. Entrepreneur.com stated that a telecommuter is twice as likely to be more productive as a non-telecommuter. Fifty-three percent of telecommuting workers work for more than 40 hours a week, compared to 23 percent of non-telecommuters
- Freelance workers are happier: Remote workers make happier teams: The greatest advantage of flexible work hours that cannot be measured in monetary terms is a happier, less stressed and more motivated workforce. Eighty-two percent of remote freelance workers reported lower stress levels according to a study by PGI, a leading provider of software services. Such happy and stress free employees can be a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace
A Gig Economy is a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. The term "gig" is a slang word meaning "a job for a specified period of time" and is typically used in referring to musicians. Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.