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What is An Employees Role in the Gig Economy Era?

In the increasingly messy debate about whether or not gig workers are employees, one fact remains true, they are here to stay, and we need to learn how to effectively manage them.

The gig worker. It’s a role that 9-to-5ers are jealous of. And I would know. 

WeGoLook has a gig workforce of over 30,000, and is growing on an hourly basis.

They can work on their own terms, sipping coffee all day long. They work when and where they want to.

It’s no secret that the gig economy is growing fast, almost so quickly that companies can’t seem to catch up to it. In fact, it’s increased 27% in the last 20 years. At WeGoLook, we started with 2,700 gig workers in 2012 to where we are now.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s always been smooth sailing for gig workers or the businesses who utilize them to fulfill their services. Indeed, it’s been an arduous journey navigating the blurred lines between gig workers and employees.


Independent Contractor vs. Employee: The Debate

What’s the big deal with the independent contractor or employee title? It can go in one of two directions.

Some gig workers prefer to be an independent contractor. This title often allows them more flexibility, since they are essentially in business for themselves.

They can work when they want, how they want, and where they want, without the pressure of supervisors dictating these for them.

Other gig workers prefer to be employees for the companies they provide services to. Some Uber drivers, for example, fought for the status of “employee” because, as independent contractors, they miss out on employee benefits, a steady paycheck, overtime pay, and more.

But, providing these things to employees is at the expense of the business. To this day, Uber still considers its driver’s independent contractors rather than employees.

Leaving that debate aside, one thing remains true in our modern business world; we need to learn how to manage gig workers.


Successful Management of Remote Gig Worker Teams

Given the popularity of the WeGoLook platform for gig workers, I get asked all the time: how do you manage gig workers?

And, the answer is, almost the same as your regular employees.

Independent contractors should be treated like genuine and equal team members, with virtual conferences, e-mail communication, or phone calls.

They should never feel out of the loop.

It’s okay to outline some daily or weekly goals for gig workers, but allow them to give their opinions, too. Make it a collaborative effort, and you’ll likely be surprised with the productivity and satisfaction of your remote team.

The second big portion of this discussion about managing gig workers is technology. You need to have the rights technological tools in place to connect, task, and communicate with your gig team. 

Without this, the whole process can deteriorate and result in frustrations and wasted time.

Now it's your turn. What tips can you give about managing a remote team of gig workers? We've covered technology and fair treatment here, but there's much more to this discussion.


By Robin Smith, CEO and Co-founder WeGoLook

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