There are an estimated 5 million people working in the UK’s ‘gig economy’, from Uber drivers to Hermes couriers to freelancers working in technology, media and many other sectors. It’s clearly a growing trend, but how can the business world ensure that by gaining from this flexibility, it doesn’t turn into exploitation? MT joined forces with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to bring together some of the brightest business minds and ask them to share their ideas and strategies.
Dil Sidhu is chief external officer at the Alliance Manchester Business School. He thinks the gig economy has always existed, perhaps previously as more of a ‘cash under the table’ arrangement, but now that it’s prevalent there needs to be an element of responsibility – from society and the government.
The executive director of policy at IOSH, Shelley Frost, is also cautious about working conditions for those in the gig economy, but she sees the shift as an opportunity for businesses. Companies can build a work environment that represents their brand – and make themselves attractive to employees by providing different, flexible ways of working to suit individuals.
But Bill McElroy, MD Advisory at Turner & Townsend, sounds a note of caution. He wonders if the increase in remote working means there are fewer opportunities for colleagues to get together and inspire each other – leading to less innovation.
For more ideas on how organisations can manage risk and retain talent, visit the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health