Stepping stones to Good Work, Good Life

Posted 7-Mar -2019

Life is Good when everything is balanced or at least moving towards it. A good work-life balance is increasingly becoming a priority for employees who believe to be spending their maximum time at the workplace, lacking personal time and space.

According to a recent report by the ManpowerGroup, Indian millennials put in the longest number of working hours per week. 52 hours to be exact. Compare that to China’s 48, USA’s 45 and UK’s 41 hours.

It’s a big battle between the personal and professional lives of employees who are slogging away to meet tighter deadlines, ensure customer satisfaction, and increase productivity, while unable to spend time with family, friends or on self-development. According to a report by EY, 30% of Indian respondents have revealed that managing work, family and personal responsibilities had become harder in the past five years. Along with work-life balance, 52% of Indians are discontent with their compensation according to an Indian employment portal, Worknrby. The stress is clearly visible and many employees are struggling to achieve the distant dream of Good Work and Good Life.
However, thanks to the rising gig economy, things are changing and the work code is evolving. If you aren’t aware of the gig economy, do start following it as this is not just terminology but a phenomenon that is causing major disruption in the way we work and unfolds a new work code for the future. Gig economy also is known as the mobile economy has the potential to create a world of work where Good Work, Good Life is definitely possible.

As per the dictionary, Gig Economy is “a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs”. Recently, companies have been focussing on reducing costs (especially after the Great Recession 2008) and looking for a skilled workforce on project-basis due to rise in automation and agile models. On the other hand, the workforce is struggling with the work-life balance and looking for flexible and multiple ways of generating income. All this fuel up the gig economy which is a solution for such businesses and workers. In a layman’s terms, gig economy is an arrangement where you work on skilled projects with top companies for a short-term basis, learn – unlearn, and move on for the next gig or may be a holiday. It is different from typical contractual or contingent jobs because, in a way, it focusses on skilled jobs, high compensation, plug & play model, and most importantly a good work-life balance.

The emergence of the gig space is breaking the stereotype of working 9 to 5 out of cubicles and has fuelled the freelancing industry, whether people doing full-time or side freelancing, everybody wants to be in the game of gig for its flexible working model.

According to LinkedIn, 43% of the workforce will be freelancer also can be known as gig workers by 2020. According to another report by an HR aggregator firm, NobleHouse, 70% of Indian companies have hired freelancers in 2018. According to Amita Maheshwari, President and Head HR of Star TV, “Gig Economy is a great development and I see it being used more in driving quick win projects and when we need skills for short period in all sectors and type of work.” She goes on to add a message for freelancers who wish to enter the gig space – “Build niche skills and expertise. General management may not create so much demand. Be known for one area, where you can go in and create a tremendous impact in a short period. Be open to immerse in very diverse culture and also be ready to completely unlearn and quickly learn the business of a new company.”

It is evident that the gig economy is widely accepted by organizations that have identified various roles in the organization that can be performed by gig workers. Most importantly, they are hiring gig workers irrespective of their gender and location as long as they find the right skill. This is a good sign for the corporate world which has always faced criticism over gender inequality. On the other hand, the gig workers are leveraging their domain experience and helping organizations fill in the missing skills and experiences, for organizations the cost is not the primary driver as a decision for hiring flexible workers. They are happy joining, performing and moving on to the next assignment as long as they get challenging assignments and new experiences. The assignments range from short term to long term and have specific objectives, making it efficient from an organization’s perspective. The demand for leveraging the gig economy is from both the ends – workers and recruiters and good to see it’s developing quickly in India with 28% of companies believing freelancing to rise by 40% in the next three years, according to Noble House. The gig is the next Big Thing!

Freelancing in the gig space is a fascinating proposition, and we have listed out the stepping stones of leveraging this mobile economy to achieve a dream of Good Work, Good Life.

Get Upskilled – Gig is a mobile economy where everything is on-demand and on-the-go. When a company is hiring you as a freelancer, they expect you to come, deliver and move on. There’s hardly any bandwidth to learn and adapt, rather the freelancer should be skilled enough to perceive and perform. “Niche skills, specialised skill should be built upon. Workers will be responsible for their own development as no corporate would spend “learning” dollars on keeping the skills of gig workers current and relevant,” said Ruchi Bhalla, VP HR, Me.com. It is highly important to define your skill and keep learning and practising over it. Thanks to the cloud-based learning platform like Udemy, codecademy, etc. that offer curated courses for professional development and one can easily learn at their own pace and location. Leverage these platforms that have diverse and latest on-demand courses, which would help you in upskilling as a freelancer.

Stay Connected – To be in the game, one must know who all are playing and what are the rules. Join various freelancing and remote working communities on social media and attend meetups. This helps in making strong connections with peers, learning about the market, and finding the best projects. There are many Facebook communities that you can be associated with, such as https://www.facebook.com/groups/remotework.digitalnomads/

Focus on Personal Branding – “Gig workers need to either build or deploy related skills such as the ability to create a compelling proposition, write out sales proposal, make a social persona, get active in communities and be flexible,” said Harlina Sodhi, an HR influencer in India. Cultivating a personal brand has become more important than ever especially with the advent of social media and the gig economy. Resumes are slowly becoming obsolete and social media profile is the new Resume, especially LinkedIn. Build a professional portfolio on LinkedIn, get testimonials on your work and showcase what you are good at across all digital platform where most of the recruiters sit. One can also use LinkedIn’s platform Medium which empowers employees to share their best work and biggest ideas that has a reach of 90mn readers.

Try side Gigging – Though gig economy is a lucrative opportunity for the freelancers, however, experts believe that one must not rush and do side gigs along with your full-time employment instead, to evaluate yourself and your recruiters. This is a crucial stepping stone as it will give you a heads-up what lies in the future of freelancing in the gig economy. Start creating profiles on top freelancing sites, such as Freelancer, Upwork and Fiverr and for specific to India, NobleHouse and begin picking projects as per your skills, availability and compensation.

Achieving Good Work, Good Life – Once you have carved a niche for yourself in the freelance market and have become the last resort for your clients, you can either choose to continue as a side gig worker or plunge into full-time freelancing. Many people for whom money is the priority, continue to do side hustle to supplement their income. On the other side, there are people for whom both money and personal time matter and these people go for full-time gigging. It’s completely your take as full-time freelancing is equivalent to running a business, where you are the sales, accounts, marketing, operations guy – a one-man army whereas, in side freelancing, you have your full-time employment to fall upon if anything goes wrong. It’s up to you to be either free and adventurous or be conservative and ambitious.

Whatever be the case, gig economy has something for everybody. It’s high time you embrace it to live the dream of Good Work, Good Life!

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