If you’ve put off thinking about your company’s role in the gig economy, you’re not alone. But without addressing some common concerns posed by the gig economy, your company may struggle to stay ahead of the competition.

In a nutshell, the gig economy is where workers find short-term jobs and work as freelancers when and where they like – such as driving for Lyft or delivering Uber Eats. Although this type of work arrangement isn’t new, the way workers are connecting online via websites or apps has certainly evolved with technology, particularly over the last few years.

That leads to several employer questions about the gig economy:

  1. Can my company hire gig workers instead of full-time employees?

Gigs are short-term projects or side hustles which may not fit within your company’s paradigm. According to bls.gov, these are the most common industries that participate in the gig economy:

  • Arts and design (musicians, graphic designers, crafts and fine arts)
  • Computer and information technology (web developers, software developers, computer programmers)
  • Construction and extraction (carpenters, painters, construction workers)
  • Transportation and material moving (ride sharing, on-demand shopping services, delivery drivers)

While you may be able to outsource a project here and there, you may not be able to base your entire business around the gig economy. Hiring a gig worker is synonymous to hiring an independent contractor, which means there are rules surrounding what roles should be considered W-2 employment rather than a 1099 gig.

  1. How can I attract valuable employees that may be swayed by gigs?

Independence is perhaps the most attractive benefit to working gigs. There are no managers or corporate norms, workers can pick and choose their assignments, they have complete ownership over what they do, and they work when and how they choose. With the independence, however, comes the high stakes of job instability, lack of company-paid benefits and/or time off, questionable work conditions, absence of workspace and company-provided tools, and so on.

As an employer, you can address each of these and turn them into selling points to convince a job candidate to take a full-time role with your company instead. Capitalize on what your company offers:

  • Employer-paid benefits (medical, dental, retirement, supplemental, PTO, etc)
  • Other perks (discounts, company parties, offers)
  • Purpose your company provides
  • Independence within the position
  • Stability that working full-time ensures

You have plenty to offer but you may need to communicate these benefits more than ever. In other words, make sure you’re not losing as an employer!

  1. Can I prohibit my employees from taking side jobs?

Chances are that a number of your employees are already working a side job to supplement their income. Except for cases where you’re concerned about losing clients or intellectual property being disclosed, minimize your restrictions on employees wanting to work extra gigs. If you lay down the law that there are zero exceptions to working only for your company during the length of their employment, you may lose an extremely motivated and hard-working employee.

  1. Are there ways to ensure an employee’s gig work doesn’t impact their performance at my company?

Yes, establishing guidelines for working side gigs is essential today. Set parameters around using company-owned equipment, doing work for competitors (which may be covered in a non-compete), and that working gigs cannot interfere with their full-time job or be done while using PTO. Encourage employees to discuss any questions or concerns with HR, including whether a gig client of theirs may be considered a competitor or what constitutes interfering with their work schedule.

Have other concerns or questions about the gig economy? Send us an email at HR@stratus.hr and our experts will help you stay on top of your game.

Gig economy

Still trying to wrap your head around the gig economy? Here are four employer FAQs.

Brad Fagergren

Author Brad Fagergren

Brad has been a certified Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) since 2010. He services both local and multi-state client companies and is our in-house FMLA expert. Outside of work, you might spot Brad mentoring, chaperoning, watching, or participating in sports.

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