Distributed workforce and gig economy after COVID-19 – a guide for tech companies

20/09/2021
I’m happy to share with the guest post prepared by the Calamari team – they created a time and attendance tracking system. How you
Zuza Dora
Zuza Dora
Content Specialist at TRAFFIT
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    I’m happy to share with the guest post prepared by the Calamari team – they created a time and attendance tracking system. How you can deal with managing gig workers? Read more to find out!

    While unexpected and disrupting, the COVID-19 pandemic is considered not a cause, but an accelerator of changes. With it, the distributed workforce and gig economy has made an entrance to the tech industry.

    The recent journalist investigation done by The Wall Street Journal has described a recent phenomenon of tech workers who take two full-time overlapping jobs, playing Tetris with their calendar and getting two paychecks by the end of the month. The trick is possible due to the remote work explosion fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    While not violating any laws, the practice abuses the contract and raises questions about productivity and attitude toward the employer. Yet in the end – the tech market is so starving for the employee, that the increasing number of tech specialists dive deep into the combination of the gig economy, remote work, and job-hopping.

    The combination of these three aspects mentioned above builds a unique threat for tech employers. Yet there are solutions fashioned in the “fight fire with fire” mode.

    What is the gig economy?

    The gig economy is the model where the employees are looking for a short-term, non-committing contract with the employer, switching more to a freelancing model rather than working full-time.

    While the gig economy top-of-mind example is UberEats which connects the restaurants with couriers willing to deliver the food, there are also multiple other marketplaces designed for creative or tech workers and other experts.

    According to the World Economic Forum, the gig economy is thriving due to multiple reasons, with some people hopping in to casually earn additional income (40%) or to find new contracts as a freelancer (30%) while others out of necessity, to make their living with the gig economy platform either reluctantly (14%) or due to being financially strapped (16%).

    This group includes a wide array of workers, from underprivileged couriers to top-of-the-tops freelancers.

    The gig economy got a huge boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the rising unemployment and unpredictable nature of the new crisis. Yet the biggest boost has been delivered by making remote work the new normal.

    Remote work before and after COVID

    The second part of the puzzle is the explosion of remote work. According to the European Commission data, only 5.4% of employees in the EU have experienced remote work in any way. During the lockdown, up to 40% of employees have been switched to telework. The transfer was sudden, unprecedented, and unseen before.

    The lockdown has been called by the World Economic Forum the world’s biggest social experiment ever conducted, with thousands of people closed in their homes, with little to no possibility to do something about it or go out.

    The lockdown was also an unwanted yet iron proof that offices are not that necessary as they used to be seen. The PwC study showed that employees are not that willing to return to their offices, with the majority willing to work from home for at least two days a week.

    With some of them enjoying the time to do a side gig or to run a parallel job.

    It is a perfect moment to get ahead of trends?

    The privilege of the IT business is to be ahead of the rest of the market. But this also means spotting the trends before they become actually dominant on the market. Thus, building a flexible and distributed workforce is a great idea to gain a competitive edge over the rest of tech-related companies.

    Also, the tech reality is harsh when it comes to hiring specialists.

    The tech reality – finding is hard, hiring is even harder

    According to a McKinsey report, the skill gap is experienced by up to 43% of companies on the market. The situation is especially seen in the tech industry – even despite the pandemic and the global economic downturn Wall Street Journal reports that the top tech companies publish 25% more job postings than before the COVID-19.

    The European Commission reports that the majority of programming-related occupations are enumerated on the list of skills shortage in Europe. While the report lists particular positions, these were listed as a bunch, naming nearly the whole industry as a talent-hungry.

    Thus, finding a full-time employee is challenging. And with the great demand, the supply from freelancers is not uncommon. This comes as an opportunity for the tech companies to build their own distributed talent pools and think about desired skillsets rather than full-time employment. Yet it needs to be done properly, using suitable tools and approaches.

    The gig economy in the tech business

    The imbalance between the supply and demand for tech skills has been seen in the tech industry for a long time. Thus, it is not surprising that the marketplaces for freelancers and skills are popular there.

    The programmers are currently fueling an unseen shift from full-time positions to freelancing, with the number of gig workers (of all industries) predicted to reach 86 million in the US by the next decade.

    The problem is that companies from the IT sector already have access to the resumes and skills of numerous coders and specialists – it is rare for a software development shop or a tech company to not have an ongoing recruiting process.

    It is also not uncommon to contact the candidates later, either to ask if they want to cooperate or to have some side-gig. This can be done either manually, with all the paperwork and messy communication, through the marketplaces facilitating the process, as well as with the integrated tech tools like Calamari and TRAFFIT.

    Why use Calamari and TRAFFIT together to work with tech talents?

    TRAFFIT is an applicant tracking system – a place where you can manage your recruitment process and create a talent pool. Calamari delivers a time and attendance tracking system to work with people already affiliated with the organization. The two tools together cover various aspects of cooperating with remotely working specialists – from connecting with potential contractors to managing their time spent on projects.

    With that, the company can:

    • Cut the commissions – there are dedicated tools to cooperate with freelancers and marketplaces that facilitate the whole process, yet they are costly. Start by looking for ways to use tools you already have, like TRAFFIT or Calamari. They can cover the crucial points of the process without making you spend more.
    • Integrate the workflows –  the time and attendance tracking tool like Calamari is a crucial part of the company, holding significant data and being a crucial part of the process. Including cooperation with outside giggers in the tool makes it more natural and easier to control.
    • Reduce the hassle – last but not least, using the tools that are already in use requires no training and comes with ease, especially when compared to designing the new process.
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    Summary

    Using various tools simultaneously allows building a one-company skill marketplace that enables both the project managers and HR teams to access the desired specialists – and that never was easier. If you want to talk more about the possible benefits and ideas to use the integration, don’t hesitate to contact Calamari or book a meeting with TRAFFIT now!

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