The gig economy is here to stay. Whether it's hailing a ride or having a meal (or anything else they might desire) delivered right to their front door, consumers have gotten used to getting what they want on-demand. This has big implications for every company, whether your business model includes temporary, independent workers or not.
Here are the three primary ways your business will be impacted by the gig economy, and what you can do to make these trends work for you.
1. Workers want flexibility.
One of the biggest attractions of working in a freelance capacity is the ability to make money and maintain flexibility and autonomy over your schedule. Want proof? Just look at any recruiting advertisement for Uber or Lyft. While your employees are unlikely to drop a stable job with benefits to become a full-time gig worker, the desire to work more flexible hours has taken hold of the business world.
Most companies are not able to recreate the level of flexibility afforded to freelancers for all their employees, but the most successful businesses have ditched antiquated, strict work schedule policies. If you aren't offering flexible hours, watch out: your competitors might. To attract and retain the best employees, you need to consider ways to incorporate more flexible work schedules and telecommuting opportunities. Your employees will feel greater loyalty to the company, and as a bonus, they will probably become more productive, too.
2. Consumers have greater expectations.
The rise of gig-based businesses like Airbnb has led to an expectation among today's consumers that they can have what they want when they want it. Smart companies find a way to leverage this and look for ways to add an on-demand angle to their business model to stay ahead of the competition.
What about your business -- is there a way you can take advantage of the growing gig economy to provide a better experience for your customers? There's a market for everything from on-demand meals to handyman services or dog-walking, so there is sure to be an opportunity for your business, too. People will pay a premium for convenience, and you want them to be paying you and not your competitors.
If you are at a loss for ideas, look at customer feedback, or gaps in the customer journey from the time they start looking for your product or service, to after they make a purchase. Where are the minor inconveniences? What would make it slightly easier for people to use your product?
3. You have more resources at your disposal.
One of the greatest benefits of the gig economy is that you can provide a better experience for customers, as noted earlier, without putting a strain on your business. Let's face it: permanent employees are expensive, especially if they are full-time and eligible for benefits. Luckily, you can take advantage of the increased number of people looking for flexible, short-term work to accomplish your goals and expand the services your company offers. It's much cheaper to have a couple of gig workers completing tasks on their time than recruiting, hiring and managing a full-time employee who works prescribed hours on certain days of the week.