With cost pressures compelling companies to downsize, they are engaging gig workers for non-core jobs to complement their workforce and creating a mutually-fulfilling relationship.

As the world plunged deep into a global pandemic of an unprecedented scale, organisations were faced with difficult choices from business models, to maintaining operations to sustenance of their workforce. Quick but difficult decisions had to be taken.

While some of organisations swiftly transitioned to remote work, others struggled. This resulted in mass furloughs, layoffs, salary cuts, etc. There is a strong headwind against businesses and cost pressures are intense. Yet, work needs to be done. Business recovery needs to continue. Work force is needed.

The solution lies in finding solutions that meet the needs of both the organisations and the workforce.

A rising number of highly skilled, displaced workers are turning to ‘gigs’ or contractual employment as they wait for economic improvement. The organisations need to strategically plan to utilise this newfound pool of talent which did not traditionally hire for full-time core jobs.

Gig work is not really a new phenomenon though, as freelancers and independent contractors have been around for many years. But corporations have evolved differently. Organisations started with having people inhouse to cater to everything that they needed to get done — all functions were inhouse — from sales, to HR, to finance, to payroll, to customer service, to maintenance and so on.

As businesses matured, they started to differentiate between core and non-core activities, operational and strategic activities, and the concept of outsourcing evolved. As ‘outsourcing’ became more common, it evolved to moving out of functions giving rise to a new ecosystem of service providers in the areas of temporary staffing, maintenance, payroll, technology support and so on. This created a pool of temporary staff who would be available for specific tasks, often working on multiple assignments and clients.

There were also a set of ‘freelancers’ not associated with any setup who would take up temporary/short-term projects based on interest, skill set, time available. These were often considered low cost resources leveraged for short duration with varying and unpredictable outcomes, both by established organisations and startups and emerging organisations.