The days of an employee sitting in an office for eight hours a day are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Today, more and more employees are sitting in a coworking place in Singapore or working from their home office in Dubai.
What we're experiencing today is a major shiftfrom the traditional way of doing work to a new approach known as the on-demandworkforce, which lends itself to greater diversity and inclusion, something more and more leaders are emphasizing in their businesses today.
What is the on-demand economy?
For enterprise companies, the on-demand business model means establishing the necessary relationships, infrastructure, workflows and critically, the cultural mindset. With these elements in place, they can access the increasingly rich pool of workers who intentionally working remotely, for multiple companies, and on a project-by-project basis.
Otherwise termed the “gig mindset,” which is the inclination for people and organizations to engage on-demand, expert intelligence to reclaim time, drive innovation, and rethink what is possible.
Technological disruption, the common thinking goes, kills outdated business models. Recent tombstones support this assertion: the Netflix on-demand, flat fee model shuttered Blockbuster; the seamless Grab experience rendered cab-hailing a crude act by comparison; Spotify offered single-song, immediate purchase, reinvigorating music label sales in the wake of illegal downloading.
Thanks to the advance in computing speed, power and storage, people can easily communicate in real time using various communication and collaboration tools. They can quickly jump on a conference call, share documents, chat, learn and work on their tasks from any location in the world.
Another significant driver is the younger workforce. Millennials, for example, prefer managing their careers on their own terms. If their parents preferred job security and steady compensation, the newer generations are looking for work-life balance and meaning.
Another factor that's influencing the rise of the on-demand workforce is the growing number of startups. According to Dr Paul D. Reynolds, who was quoted in an article by Moya K. Mason, approximately 50 million startups will be launched globally in the coming year. The ever-increasing number of new tech startups, driven by rapid innovation, requires exceptional talent that can work on developing their solutions.
How are companies utilising the on-demand workforce?
Forward-thinking businesses that dare to take advantage of the on-demand workforce will enjoy a range of benefits. Most startups struggle to compete with tech giants like Google and Facebook.
By hiring outside of their local zip codes, smaller startups have a chance to recruit exceptional talent from anywhere in the world and compete on the market.
When hiring external talent, startups can quickly scale up and scale down, depending on project demands. Hiring exceptional talent is often challenging, especially if it's full-time. However, many expert developers are more willing to join a company on a short-term project basis.
How is on-demand talent changing the world?
While freelance labor completes relatively low-value tasks, on-demand talent solves highly complex, value-driving business challenges, and therefore stands to most significantly impact the enterprises that engage it.
Once upon a time, people were nomads who roamed the land for food and shelter. When the industrial age arrived, people moved to the cities to work in factories for minimal wages. It's been almost 100 years since the 40-hour week began, introduced by Ford Motor Companies.
Today, the on-demand workforce is driving other significant changes on a global scale:
- A Growing number Of Coworking Spots: Stripped of a traditional office and the company of other professionals, on-demand talent was looking for a laid-back alternative to workspaces. As a result, a number of coworking spaces have opened globally. These well-appointed hubs provide creative environments for virtual workers. Featuring steady connection, worktables and boardrooms, they're the ideal balance between function and comfort.
- Digital Nomads not having to be present in an office, many on-demand workers have become digital nomads. Instead of roaming the land for food and shelter, they're traveling from one country to another, exploring different cultures while performing their work at the same time. They're location-independent and only need technology to make a living. Research suggests that there are 4.8 million digital nomads, and 17 million more plan on becoming nomads someday.
- More Companies Are Going Remote: The trend of the on-demand workforce hasencouraged companies to go remote. Recent research on remote work by Owler found that 56% of all companies offer remote working opportunities.
- On-Demand Talent Platforms: The on-demand workforce movement has also inspired the creation of on-demand talent platforms. These platforms partner with companies that are looking to hire exceptional talent on a project basis. Some of the platforms take care of sourcing, screening and onboarding employees so the company that's hiring doesn’t have to.
How does one start to take advantage of the on-demand workforce?
The sooner companies acknowledge the benefits of the on-demand workforce, the better. Once you feel ready to welcome remote workers to your team, here are some first-hand tips for success:
- Identify Good Candidates: Conduct detailed technical interviews to determine employees' technical skills. Beyond technical skills, vet your candidates for soft traits that are required when working remotely. The candidate should possess great communication, self management and time management skills, along with a strong work ethic, among others.
- Choose Good Team Collaboration Tools: To avoid miscommunication, pick your communication tools, such as Slack or Google Hangouts, wisely -- and be sure to stick to them in the long run. Becoming lazy with them will cause more harm than good.
- Create Procedures: You must stay up to date with projects and move forward in an orderly manner. Using a project management tool will help keep the entire team in sync. The top choices here are Asana and Trello.
- Build A Positive Work Culture: In order for employees to give their best, they must feel included and appreciated. Strive to create a fun and collaborative environment by playing team-building games, listening to feedback, offering development opportunities and respecting the team.