The gig economy is the most visible element of a shift taking place in working patterns across many industries. It’s worth taking more time to understand it as it’s likely to have a considerable impact on society and the way many people work in the future. 

Growth of the gig economy and social media 

When the recession hit in 2008, it saw the birth of freelancing apps, such as TaskRabbit and online storefronts like Shopify. People were looking for new ways to make money and technological advances made this possible. 

As social media platforms started to grow, so too did a new form of employment. Entrepreneurs started seeing that social media could be used for many purposes other than to connect friends and this saw the optimization of social media for business. 

The gig economy is a labor market where workers are not permanently employed and it includes independent workers, specific services for hire and companies that connect workers to consumers in a direct manner, such as app-based technology platforms. 

Independent workers are paid by task instead of receiving a salary or hourly wage. There are many companies today that provide platforms through which people are connected to – and paid by – consumers. This gig economy has been expanding rapidly over the past decade. 

Compliance in the gig economy

Companies with employees have to respect their rights and stay compliant with various labor law practices. Resourceful Compliance supplies companies with labor law posters and helps them to keep up with current laws. 

Unfortunately, the gig economy is still in its infancy, and the policies and laws aren’t in place yet to protect workers’ rights. There is still confusion in some countries over whether workers should be classified as employees or self-employed. 

In the U.S., they are not classified as employees and as current labor laws were not designed with them in mind, there is potential for exploitation. New laws have to be formulated to address the challenges of the gig economy. At present, it is hard for workers to demand better pay and conditions. 

Social media has many roles

Over the past decade, both social media and the gig economy have changed a great deal. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have become an important way for businesses to market themselves. 

Online freelancing platforms abound and many people have begun working on a freelance basis to write copy, help businesses with their social media accounts and much more. 

Social media and digital technology will also undoubtedly play a role in helping those working as part of the gig economy to stand up for their rights. Many people make contact with others on social media to exchange information about things they are unhappy about. 

Once they have made contact and decide to work with one voice, they have more potential of standing up against companies that may be treating them unfairly.

A societal shift

An enormous societal shift is occurring and technology is likely to become even more essential to the way we work, live and interact. The gig economy has an immense capacity to grow and there is nothing to suggest that people can’t work flexibly from a logical or legal perspective. 

This can potentially offer advantages to many businesses, especially small businesses but care has to be taken to remain compliant, especially where the status of workers is at all unclear. 

The employment rights act is currently falling behind the needs of the gig economy and in the meantime, businesses need to make sure their working practices and business priorities are likely to come down on the right side of the law.