THE CHANGING NATURE OF WORK PLACE
Technology has taken communication to new level with the phenomena to connect with any one at any place in the world at any time. With this advancement globalization has kick start which has created a new workforce called Gig economy which has created Gig workers. Gig economy is the performance of task on a digital platform where customer and clients interact (Brinkley, 2016). The Gig economy comes with its own advantages and unique sets of challenges.
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Globalization has created changes in working nature of organization with no restriction on import and foreign investments with rest of the world (Paul, 2015). It has created cross culture settings both within an organization and around it. Example of this phenomenon includes global brands such as Coca-Cola, Adidas, and Huawei who are not only setting up businesses in but also seeking employees in the remote African villages (Andrew Crane, 2019). Due to globalization, European countries and USA have many migrant workers from India, Africa, the Middle East and Far East making Cross-border movement of people easier which has cross-cultural issues (Gurnani, 2015). With this increasing involvement in overseas markets, corporations are finding themselves in a diverse culture. This has translated itself into moral dilemmas in many circumstances. The moral value taken for granted in the home market gets questioned as it enters foreign market (Bailey & Spicer, 2007).
The advancement of technology is the main reason behind the success of globalization. Organizations adopt new methods of production, expand market and rely on technologies for better capital. They overcome information barriers by introducing outsourcing which allows more efficient management of operations. They hire workers in one location for parts production, another to assemble and third one to sell, creating challenges in cross-culture setting. (Djankov & Saliola, 2019). For this process to run smoothly, the organization will have to come up with different ethical code for different locations due to cross culture setting.
Globalization with technology has expanded the global value chains creating jobs in new markets through online work, freelancing and gig economy via laptops, tablets, and smartphones, providing environment in which on-demand services can succeed (Djankov & Saliola, 2019). Gig economy is characterized by flexible working patterns based around the service demand, workers with desired workplace, online task performing, and triangular relationship existing between employee, end users and digital platform (Stewart & Stanford, 2017). Bangladesh alone contributes 15% to the global online labor pool with more than 650,000 freelance workers in the gig economy (Aowsaaf, 2018). The nature of work in the gig economy ranges from grocery delivery, driving services, writing, consulting, design and skilled trades to more sophisticated tasks including accounting, editing, and music production (Djankov & Saliola, 2019) (Group, 2016).
The gig workers can increase savings, productivity, and flexibility (Group, 2016). With increase in gig economy, workers often find themselves lacking a fixed workplace or defined work hours (Rose, 2017). The traditional paradigm of full-time, stable individual employment is being challenged by on-demand freelance contractor work. The flexible working provisions appear to be highly successful as evaluations of this operation reveals high levels of positive responses from employers to employee (Rose, 2017).
The gig economy comes with its own share of hurdles. It creates job loss, increases insecurity in employment, de-skilling, growing inequalities; indeed, many of the “new” forms of work are seen as variations of old forms of day labor and irregular employment (Stanford, 2017). Certain protections and benefits that employees usually enjoy are not afforded to workers in the gig economy (Dosen & Graham, 2019). Scholars, workers’ rights groups and critical commentators are uneasy about the contribution of the gig economy to a trend towards a casual and on-demand labor market, with weak or non-existent income security (Dosen & Graham, 2019). Furthermore the workers feel they are not involved with the company and feel underutilized and believes they are not being developed as leaders and just labor force (Deloitte, 2016). With the increase in gig economy, the persistent informality also arises. The number of Gig workers is increasing with 70% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 60% in South Asia, and more than 50 % in Latin America. (Djankov & Saliola, 2019). JD.com, China’s second-largest e-commerce company has over 220,000 merchants on its online marketplace, and over 179,000 full-time employees (JD.com, 2019). The informal employment characterized by online platforms and isolated independent workers also poses fundamental challenges to traditional working model, setting minimum standards to employees (Stewart & Stanford, 2017). An important issue plaguing this resurgence of the gig economy is that the non-Western workers can be poorly rewarded on digital platform (Beerepoot & Hendriks, 2014). Also there is no clear existing regulations for gig workers that can be effectively enforced in the digital economy. In some cases, avoiding traditional regulations appears to have been a key foundation for establishing digital businesses in the first place (Stewart & Stanford, 2017).
Managers face challenges in maintaining the increased fluidity of the workforce and the implications it has for company structure and the hiring process (Group, 2016). The gig workers are hired at large scale, which adds a great degree of complexity to management and with technological advancement management is required to stay updated, which is where the need for a freelancer and gig worker management solution comes (Wald, 2014).
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With more people resorting to the flexible work available in digital platform, a sound knowledge of technology is must. With the fast growing market of gig economy as a manager, I would keep myself up to date with technology. Without the knowledge of what the new technologies are offering in the market, I wouldn’t be able to decide what technology best suits the company and better manage gig workers. One of the problem I found was although gig workers are protected by law, they don’t feel like a part of the organization. So, I would be planning to increase interaction with such worker by inviting them to workshops, trainings, or activities like competitions or tea programs. It is not possible inviting all the workers at once, so I would be dividing groups, and making sure that most of them participate. The way to survive in a market is not by just understanding technology but also by taking emotions of employees into consideration.
As technology has advanced, globalization has kicked in and created the gig economy, one of the fastest growing workforce in world. The flexibility of workplace and work hours have increased interest of more people. But due to this most of the organization and management team are facing challenges with coming up with plans for gig workforce to get involved in the organization through different interaction training and workshop. The challenges faced in changing nature of work can be overcome through good management of gig workers. This will bring success to any organization. Gig workforce is already in the play and with more plans to improve and engage the gig workforce, this is going to be the future.
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