Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
At a time when an act as simple as leaving the house felt unsafe, services provided by companies like DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart, etc. became critical to consumers just trying to go about their daily lives. The pandemic changed the way customers buy and businesses sell, but what will its lasting impact be on the gig economy?
To offer their professional insights, nine leaders from Rolling Stone Culture Council share their predictions for the future of this booming industry and why it may or may not be just as vital moving forward.
A Demand for Stable Pay and Healthcare
I think the next big step for the gig economy will be unionizing for stable pay and healthcare. As these new employment structures come to be and the new generations work out what works for them, we will continue to see a need for healthcare and financial protections. The future of the gig economy may look similar to the regular one except for more flexible hours and such. – Cynthia Salarizadeh, House of Saka, Inc.
More Chores- or Admin-Based Gigs
The gig economy is thriving. Humans are creatures of leisure and want to save as much energy as possible. Finding a way to outsource household chores or administrative tasks will continue to be an area of growth in the gig economy. – Max Baumann, Basemakers
New Tech-Based Delivery and Distribution
Remember Herbie or K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider? The proliferation of “last mile” delivery volume from pizza to packages is rapidly outstripping the labor available to deliver it. Companies like Domino’s Pizza, Walmart and UPS are exploring multiple new delivery and distribution technologies — including self-driving vans, pizza delivery robots and package delivery drones. – Lisa McClung, Coda Signature
A Move Toward Brand Authenticity
The younger labor force is moving away from job security and benefits in search of gigs that are consistent with their values and lifestyle and that allow them to earn more for performance. This is why “brand” is so important. If a brand’s purpose is authentic in putting people over profits and its working environment is designed to attract the right labor force, it’s a virtuous cycle. – Ryan Tomlinson, Language Media
Increased Age Diversity
Giggers will span all generations. Boomers no longer want to retire and play golf or mahjong and will become independent contractors to supplement their incomes. Experienced, flexible, often fiercely loyal and open to new opportunities, we will become and remain a vital segment of the gig economy. – Nancy A Shenker, theONswitch & nunu ventures
Alternative Employment Offerings for Traditional Companies
I believe that if you consider the outsourced office functions you can obtain in other countries, that should give you food for thought. Since we now know that the American worker can function independently of the office, the question is, will they want to return? If not, how do companies get the work done? Perhaps you can pay your former employee as a gig worker. – Michael Polk, Billboardology.com
Adoption Across Industries
The gig economy is the future. This model can be embraced across many industries and allows scalability for organizations when they need it without the burden of overhead when they don’t. It puts talent in more control of their work-life balance, which translates to a better quality of life. The infrastructure is in place — just let technology fulfill its promise to work smarter, not harder. – Matt Blackburn, ORDER
A Boom in Experience-Based Learning
I think education and skills-based training are going to boom the most to support the gig economy. We built Dormzi for young people specifically to bring the gig economy and freelance model to my generation. The biggest hurdles were lack of experience and lack of skills needed to elevate existing products. The gig economy will bring on a new generation of experience-based learning. – Milan Kordestani, Guin Records
A Return to Balance with In-Person Interactions
I used DoorDash a lot during the pandemic, so if I never order delivery again, it will still be too soon! And I can’t be the only one who feels that way. Ultimately I think two groups have emerged: one that now much prefers avoiding public settings and one that craves big crowds and more human interaction than ever before. I do think everything will eventually balance itself out though. – Frankie Blydenburgh, Rockabilia