Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia
All around the world, companies and their employees are adjusting to very different working conditions compared to those that existed pre COVID.
For institutions, adapting and surviving over the past 4 months and into the future has meant significant transformation at lightning speed. For some that has meant making productive ‘work from home’ actually work, be it swiftly getting on top of technical issues or implementing technology that helps line managers deal with the complexities of managing people from afar. For others, it has meant pivoting their business, laying off staff and completely rethinking revenue forecasts.
In this period of high uncertainty, contractors that can come in, do the job, then get off the payroll are attractive. Pair that with unemployment driving many into the gig economy, then you have the perfect storm for a swift and significant upheaval in how we typically think about employment and employers, what it looks like, and what benefits a workplace should provide its staff.
For years the gig economy has been a real double-edged sword for a worker. While it promises significant freedoms, it has typically eroded the benefits many would be able to access via their employer – health insurance, pensions to name two common ones.
Both health insurers and pension schemes, particularly in the states, rely on this employer/employee relationship to keep their funnels and inflows full. When that breaks, then there is the potential for systemic issues throughout the chain, through to end benefit providers.
This is why benefit platforms that act as intermediaries to employers need to rethink how they become an intermediary to the contracting sector more broadly.
UK startup Pirkx is doing exactly that, ensuring benefits on its platform are available to all ‘workers’ at a company, regardless of their contract status, however there is a vast ocean of opportunity here for startups looking to take advantage of this cultural shift.
More and more, individuals are being disconnected from traditional social groups, like workplaces. However there is always power in the group, and as humans, we instinctively understand this. This is a strong principle on which to build a compelling offering for a currently marginalised section of the workforce.
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