Up until a few years ago, companies hired full-time staff with specific skills to perform a finite set of regular tasks. Most activities could be performed using in-house expertise.
Today, the emphasis has moved from routine work to focused, short-term projects, with more and more companies making use of skilled contract workers.
2019 report highlights growth of the gig economy in South Africa
The Deloitte 2019 Human Capital Trends Report for South Africa conducted a survey on the composition of working arrangements. The results show that 66% of companies are already using contract workers to address skills shortages.
Another 52% said that they preferred to use freelancers and contractors for specific projects or types of tasks.
The gig economy has gone mainstream
For people wanting to make a career from freelance work, this is great news.
Alternative work used to be seen as a “side hustle” or a “gig” to supplement income.
As the demand for specialised skills increases, many of skilled professionals have realised that they no longer need to feel tied to one full-time employer.
Freelance and contract workers currently makes up between 16% and 20% of South Africa’s workforce.
This is in keeping with a growing global trend. For example, 36% of the US workforce comprises of gig workers.
The gig economy has taken hold and is here to stay.
Given the ease of remote work, many employees prefer the flexibility of freelance work. Many also enjoy the opportunity to work on diverse projects.
Leveraging and managing a dispersed workforce
The combination of traditional and dispersed workforces poses a challenge for companies. They need to use new strategies to leverage, retain and manage alternative workers.
A Gallup study on the gig economy found that alternative workers typically have a far looser relationship with their employers. This makes it harder for organisations to communicate their culture and values.
Managers need to have different ways to tap into the “pulse” of gig workers and keep them engaged.
Gallup suggests four strategies that can help to motivate and inspire a dispersed workforce:
- maintain regular team communication with traditional and gig workers
- foster meaningful relationships and cohesion among traditional and gig team members
- use traditional employees to mentor and orient gig workers
- conduct onboarding activities promptly so that contract workers know what is expected of them.
Coworking and serviced offices bring together dispersed teams
Managed work spaces, offering serviced offices and coworking, are an ideal office space solution for companies and workers in the gig economy.
Companies don’t need to find, set up and maintain traditional office space – but they can still give contract workers access to a professional, “connected” work environment.
Everything needed is already in place, so workers can move in and start work straight away. And there’s no need to sign a long lease.
Benefits of managed workspace for employers
In the gig economy, managed office space can also have these benefits for employers:
- reducing or even eliminating office setup, maintenance and security costs
- helping gig workers in particular locations feel like they’re part of the team
- providing central locations for handling onboarding and training, whether in person or via video conferencing
- ensuring gig workers are in a professional environment where they can focus fully on their work and be productive
- preventing gig workers who work remotely from becoming too isolated.
The Workspace: an ideal office space solution for your company’s gig workers
At The Workspace, we offer a flexible, cost-effective alternative to traditional office space.
Our fully furnished, serviced offices and coworking provide comfortable, professional spaces for contractors to work, as teams or individually.
Individuals or teams can move in and start work straight away, with everything they need already in place. For example, this includes:
- high-speed Wi-Fi
- comfortable office furnishings and stylish décor
- a full reception service
- a range of on-site business services
- kitchen facilities and free coffee and tea
- professional meeting rooms and boardrooms with video conferencing
- comfortable informal seating areas for meetings and relaxation
- secure parking.