How We’ve Come to Depend on the Gig Economy

Back in the old days, the word “gig” usually only applied to musicians and other performers when they were hired for a few nights, weeks or months by a particular venue to entertain. Most of the time, they were paid at the end of the night based on ticket sales and that was that. Nowadays, the term has come to mean so much more. In fact, many believe we’re living in a “gig economy,” where products are delivered and services are rendered by a new population of the workforce.

Think about your average day. You take an Uber (gig driver) to your favorite coffee shop (gig barista) and meet up with a party planner (gig worker) to discuss plans for a non-profit organization’s yearly gala where you’ll need to hire a set-up crew, a clean-up crew, a caterer, servers, dishwashers, musicians and keynote speakers (yep, all gig workers).

As you go through the rest of your day, you’ll likely come across more gig workers like that guy on the bike with the backpack-cooler who zooms by you on a busy downtown street to get lunch to a group of hungry accountants before the food turns cold. When you arrive at work, you go to your cube that was put together by furniture assemblers (gig workers) and say hello to a graphic designer, writer, project manager, video editor and proofreader—all hired as gig workers for a special project.

At the end of a long day, you go home to a clean house (thanks to your gig house cleaner), greet your sleepy dog who is tired from his long walk with the dog walker (also, gig), settle your son in at the computer for an online math tutor (you got it, gig tutor) and wait for your grocery delivery, which will be hauled up three flights of stairs by … yes, a gig worker.

How did we ever survive before gig workers came to our rescue day in and day out? We have become so dependant on services right when we want them and products right when we need them, there is clearly no turning back.

Be honest. You know you could never leave Fido alone all day in your apartment ever again. He’s expecting to see, Hannah, his tried-and-true dog walker friend every day at noon. And, what about that Airbnb cabin you go to every year right on the ocean? Don’t see yourself going to the nearest chain hotel in the center of town instead, do you?

Take a few minutes to reflect on all the gig workers in your life and how they help you and your family manage your daily routines. Most likely, you rely on their products and services more than you thought. Gig workers are more than a trend. They’re becoming a necessary part of our fast-moving lives. The gig economy is prospering and Shiftgig is excited and proud to be part of the action.

Learn more about the gig workers you come across everyday—who they are, why they’re working this way, what motivates them, what role gender might play and how businesses can be strategic

participants in the gig economy: Download the 2018 Shiftgig Report: Profile of a Gig Worker.

About The Author

Jane Smith is the Community Relations Manager at Shiftgig. She is passionate about helping Shiftgig Specialists and helping transform the way people work. In her free time, Jane loves cooking, exploring Chicago, and spending time with family.