The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gig Economy
The COVID-19 health catastrophe is an extraordinary blow that is affecting people’s lives and livelihoods across the world. Its impacts are likely to be felt not just in the near term, but also in the medium and long term. The severe health consequences have been matched by dramatic losses in economic activity and labor market turmoil.
Fear of infection, public guidelines, and widespread uncertainty caused a significant reduction in economic activity and disrupted global value chains, resulting in a deep and broad shock to the labor market. Furthermore, state-imposed lockdowns and business closures have had severe consequences, with millions of workers in numerous nations seeing a reduction in, or entire loss of, their jobs.
As industries were required to shut down to safeguard workers’ health and promote compliance with mitigation and containment rules, many countries implemented widespread job retention and/or income support systems to assist workers. Employers reorganized their operations whenever possible to allow for remote working arrangements.
Participation in the gig economy has developed significantly in recent years and has expanded dramatically since the commencement of the coronavirus epidemic, owing in part to an increased reliance on gig workers to deliver essentials to consumers’ homes.
India has 15 million gig workers, accounting for around 40% of all freelance tasks available globally, and this figure is continuously increasing year after year. A considerable share of the country’s school dropouts, college students, and those who are only partially employed seek part-time work to support themselves and their families.
One of the most significant advantages of the gig economy is the flexibility it provides, both in terms of working hours and employment types. In fact, before the epidemic, over 70% of gig workers reported that they chose to work in the gig economy because it provided more flexibility and, in some cases, higher pay than full-time employment.
As the world begins to fully embrace this new form of working, which will likely rise in the aftermath of the pandemic, talent executives must plan for this inevitable shift and discover new methods to support workers to preserve the gig economy’s long-term viability.
The gig economy has undeniably become a vital component of the Indian workforce; a tendency that has only been accelerated by the pandemic. Millions of people are deciding to pursue a work arrangement that better matches their lifestyle than the typical full-time job.
However, the expansion of the gig economy raises important considerations concerning the rights of its workers and the long-term viability of this work arrangement if those rights are not fulfilled.
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Turbulent times for MIMO and gig workers
Starting with just a couple of clients and 250 field officers in late 2017, MIMO served more than 70 clients through 10,800 field officers till February 2020. MIMO’s future appeared bright, with its operations reaching 19 Indian states. The coronavirus then hit. The entire country was put under lockdown. MIMO’s field activities were shut down, and clients failed to uphold their pledges to continue doing business during these difficult circumstances.
MIMO, desperate for survival, has considered a video verification mechanism. This is not a large, groundbreaking change, but rather a simple tweak to make the greatest use of the available resources: video calling. What began as a temporary solution during the ongoing crisis quickly gained traction with both clients and field officers working from home.
Clients’ confidence in MIMO’s deliverable quality, as well as the MIMO team’s capacity to implement the new procedure and educate interested field officers, has begun to yield results. MIMO could be performing more transactions than the pre-COVID era, having grown from nearly zero transactions in the latter half of March to a couple of hundred today and a pipeline of two major clients joining in. To read the full story, please visit https://www.microsave.net/2020/06/17/mimo-bridging-the-digital-gap-for-the-rural-workforce/
The Bottom Line:
Now is the time for businesses to rethink the role of gig workers in their organizations and devise a strategy to retain them in the future. While their expanding ranks may bring workforce agility and cost efficiency, as the economy improves in 2021, companies must examine how to retain the best gig workers to help their organization expedite recovery efforts in the months and years ahead. For more info regarding MIMO’s services, please visit Supply Chain Service Provider In India – MIMO (mimo-technologies.com)
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