This article continues our discussion of post-Covid-19 recovery with thoughts of everything returning to the old normal, a semblance of normal, or the new normal, or something quite different again.
No one really knows how recovery will completely shake out, or how long it will take. For now, let’s have a review of current, normal-type jobs, and those infringing on the scene.
There are generally two types of job structure.
Jobs on the ground: with a go-to-physical structure presence. This used to be the accepted norm. You transported to your job; worked certain hours, clocked in 9-5, 8-6, 7-7 — yes, 12-hour days, or more, are common; then, commuted home again. You lived somewhere near where you worked.
Jobs performed remotely: in vapourware — for want of a better word — anywhere in or out of country, any time zone, day or night; any place, your home, your car, hotel, or temporary WeWork-type of physical host, in the air — plane, helicopter, below ground subway and so on. Your job is ongoing, until it is not.
Kinds of employment: full-time, part-time, just-in-time demand, temporary or permanent positions, or completely independent freelance, where you are your own boss.
Full-time, permanent work positions have inherent benefits. Generally, there is a legal employment contract that states the employer’s rights and responsibilities to you, the employee, by providing remuneration for satisfactory work in a conducive safe environment as well as your rights and responsibilities implicit within the good faith contract towards your employer.
Benefits for the employee can include the following:
• Job security — not as secure as it used to be where jobs were for life
• Steady predictable income — at least, as long as employer is profitable
• Reliable work schedule
• Holidays, vacations, sick and personal leave
• Payroll benefits: health and disability insurance, life insurance, expense reimbursements, incentive bonuses, lower interest rates on loans, stock and dividends
• Retirement and pension match
• Professional development and training opportunities
• Opportunities in climbing the ladder promotions
• Redundant or separation pay, if business reformulates/relocates future planning
In return, a permanent employee is required to:
• Make a full commitment to contribute to the business’ success
• Conduct assignments in an ethical and intuitive manner
• Be loyal to the company in following its business directives
• Be prompt and disciplined in your work habits
• Enhance your business knowledge and skills at every opportunity
Part-time, Temporary, just-in-time demand jobs generally are classified within the same structure as full-time permanent jobs — only in that the individual works for an employer.
The new gig job structure — completely independent freelancers.
It’s called the gig economy, the shared or contingent economy. A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organisations contract with independent contractor-workers for short-term engagements.
Uber, Lyft, and numerous, you name it, independent service/product gigs have epitomised this new working structure. According to Serraview and JLL Consulting, gig workers now represent a third of the economy and are expected to increase to 80 per cent in by 2030, terming this trend the “liquid workforce”.
Bermuda islanders used to refer the new “gigs” as side hustles.
Gig workers have little guaranteed job security, irregular hours, over or underwhelmed jobs, social isolation, but the positivity of great independence and flexibility to choose time, place, and kind of work.
The freelance individual has to be disciplined and guided by his/her own work standards — the end product must, of course, be as competitive or more than a comparative in-house employee.
A freelance gig worker is completely responsible for all benefits, taxes, retirement, professional development, and controlling a reliable work schedule.
Critically, gig workers must be consummate salespersons, heavily reliant on marketing themselves to produce a consistent service income. No work, no income.
Let’s take a look at one of the gig economy marketplace companies. Fiverr, www.fiverr.com, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is one of the largest freelance marketplaces in the world. Fiverr was launched in 2010, launched with the mission to reinvent the way people work, using a platform to match people’s creative skills against global market demand with a two-sided platform for people to buy and sell a variety of digital services typically offered by freelance contractors.
Fiverr offers freelance services to major global companies as well as small one-person businesses, with more than 5.5 million buyers and 830,000 sellers at May 2019.
• Digital marketing
• Writing and translation
• Video and animation
• Music and audio
• Programming and tech
The process is quite simple:
All transactions are managed by Fiverr.
Sellers apply to offer their services on Fiverr, often with sample displays of their work.
Sellers are rated on their performance and deliverables by buyers of the service — from one to five stars (with five the highest rating).
Buyers contract with sellers through Fiverr, specifically.
Initial payment is made through Fiverr until the buyer reports satisfaction with seller deliverable. Then, and only then, is seller paid for service rendered after a percentage of their contract fees to Fiverr, as host of the transaction process.
At the end of the day, if media reports are accurate, companies see real cost savings in gig workers. Hired, wired, and used in short project time-frames. No benefits, no need to physically relocate, train, no issues of control, no locked-in responsibilities for down time, pensions, taxes, raises, training, and so on.
As mentioned in the Moneywise article last week, physical necessity workers will still be in demand, but the growth of independent contractor gigs are a very real future possibility.
This raises questions.
Will employers continue to employ using the prevailing standard of work environment? Or will gig workers, both regular and very high-end be the prevailing choice?
What does that mean for the island?
What does this trend mean for you?
Are your job skills ready for the next workplace transformation?
“How the gig economy is impacting the corporate workplace”,
Fiverr announces third-quarter 2019 results,
• Martha Harris Myron CPA JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services, dual Bermudian/US citizen. All proceeds from these columns are donated to The Bermuda Salvation Army. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org