How Employers Can Respond to the Increase in Need for Remote and Gig Work

Over the past few months, we have seen COVID-19 cause some dramatic changes in the ways people work. Whether your employees are currently working from home or you’re employing people on a remote basis, the virus has called for innovation across all industries. 

Although working from home, either permanently or on a freelance basis, is a trend Millennials have been favoring for years, many businesses must determine whether remote work is a viable option that can continue into the future. While no one knows what life will look like post-COVID-19, we’re already starting to see workforce trends that are likely to stick. 

As a result, employers are having to adapt to the increasing need for both remote and temporary freelance work not only to continue business during the pandemic but also to keep up with future workforce trends. Whether this means creating new remote roles or setting up more flexible scheduling, you need to be sure you’re adapting to accommodate the current climate. 

Understanding Millennial Employment Trends 

When it comes to responding to the increase in the need for remote workers and freelancers, it helps to understand currently Millennial employment trends. With 56.7 million freelance workers already in the US, trends certainly state that young people are becoming more and more likely to avoid traditional working environments. 

With the addition of COVID-19, this number is likely to rise over the next few years, especially due to the fact that 90% of US workers are open to the idea of freelancing. 

Attracting Freelance Applicants and Gig Workers

One of the hardest things about innovating your workplace is knowing how to attract freelance applicants and gig workers, especially if this is something your business has never had to do before. 

Although it can be difficult to reach a new, younger audience, there are lots of tips and tricks that you can pick up to make the process that little bit easier. Whether that means offering more flexibility within the roles you’re advertising or allowing people to work from their own devices at home, you need to consider what they would want from a position. At the end of the day, it’s as much about what your employees want as it is what you want. 

Other great tips when it comes to attracting freelance applicants and gig workers include: 

  • Considering how the current positions you offer could be adapted to freelance workers
  • Reevaluating your employee benefits to help improve staff retention
  • Adjusting your role titles to specifically attract freelancers, contract workers, and remote workers

Remote Background Checks and Health Screenings 

Although you may not feel as though it is essential for contract or freelance employees, it’s critical that you still carry out background checks for each of your gig workers, no matter how temporary their contract may be. 

The safety of your employees and your customers is a top priority, and background checks and health and safety screenings are one of the most efficient ways to ensure you’re protecting your workforce. Luckily, some services offer remote background checks, meaning you don’t even need to see your candidates in person to administer the check. This is especially beneficial for businesses hiring right now, in a time when face-to-face interaction must be kept to a minimum. 

Preparing for a Loss of Gig Workers

Keep in mind that freelancers and gig workers are likely to move on quickly, so as a result, you need to ensure you have a solid recruitment process in place. The best way to prepare is to create a tried-and-true hiring process that you can follow. Whether that means working with a recruitment agency or hiring a recruitment specialist of your own, it’s important you’re able to replace people as quickly as possible. 

That said, it’s also important to focus on employee retention by building a strong company culture, focusing on how benefits can attract freelance and contract workers, and promoting a healthy company image. Even though gig workers are often considered temporary, remote workers are more likely to stay with your company if they can achieve a good work-life balance and feel welcome within your company’s culture.

When the virus subsides, experts have predicted that a lot of businesses will be reevaluating the way in which they run as a result of the COVID-19 fallout. Whether this means they will be offering all of their employees the option to work from home or they will be running their whole business remotely, businesses need to prepare for a continuing change within their workforce. 

Chris Turn