The world of work is changing; it was only a matter of time before technology fundamentally changed how we perceive work, coworking and hybrid working models are a clear indication that the historical 9-5 working day is over. With the increase in cloud technologies and the ability to work from anywhere, many jobs no longer require people to be in an office to perform their daily duties. In a slow UK economy, with low growth and concerns over Brexit, companies need to be agile enough to compete with nimble start-ups, manage costs and scale or descale resources depending on demand.
Today according to the McKinsey Global Institute, there are approximately five million people in the UK currently working in the gig economy. This is around 16% of the total full and part-time workforce (32 million people). In the UK 39% of adults aged 55 and over were working independently versus 31% of workers between 25-54. A similar shift was found in Germany and Sweden.
Which UK Corporate Companies Leverage the Gig Economy?
Derived from the music industry, the ‘gig economy’ describes the growing trend of companies choosing to hire freelancers rather than full-time employees. Freelancers are paid for each individual “gig” they do – such as food delivery (McDonalds ‘McDelivery’ powered by Uber Eats being the perfect example) or a car journey – instead of by day or by the hour.
Workers will usually have zero-hour contracts and limited employment benefits (sick leave, holiday pay, redundancy pay, maternity leave and even minimum wage). Many workers prefer the freedom that comes with these arrangements, whilst others feel they are left to compete for work to make up their full-time wage, of which there is no guarantee.
The gig economy spans a range of sectors including transport, retail and food, where jobs are increasingly temporary and flexible. Headline UK companies operating within the gig economy include UBER, Deliveroo, Addison Lee, Amazon, Ocado, DPD & Argos.
Impacting White Collared Workers & Freelancers
Surveys show the top four reasons workers are flocking to the gig economy are flexible work schedules, quick remuneration, no boss and an improved work-life balance. All similar reasons for running your own business or becoming an entrepreneur. Although great reasons for workers focusing on deliveries, what does this mean for white-collared workers who need somewhere to work, which in turn is helping to drive the evolution of coworking.
A traditional workspace can be a great option. It provides long-term financial security in the form of a lease and the ability to reflect your brand within the workspace for visiting clients. However there’s a problem, many landlords will want to see years of company accounts and strong projected financials, which isn’t always easy to come by if you own a newly formed business. This leaves the option of serviced offices, coworking or working from home.
The popularity of coworking spaces such as WeWork is partly explained by freelancers’ need to be around others. Many coworking companies schedule Christmas activities for their members. As an example, WeWork’s host a Christmas market pop-up, party, children’s day, Christmas carol workshop and wreath-making sessions. In fact, several large corporations have begun to establish their operations within coworking spaces too.
The Evolution of Coworking within the Gig Economy
We feel the trend of the coworking evolution will continue to gather pace as the rising cost of traditional business real estate pushes businesses further out of London, and workers will continue to adopt the idea of temporary and remote offices.