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Giggin’ in the Time of COVID

Scott Sipherd - October 15, 2020

It’s hard to think of something that COVID-19 hasn’t disrupted. And with the virus still not under control, the world continues to face much uncertainty. It’s changed our lives and will likely continue to shape and influence how we live for years to come. The gig economy is no exception.

The Pandemic’s Impact On The Gig Economy

COVID-19’s impact on the gig economy has been anything but uniform. While some gig companies have taken a hit, others are not only weathering the storm but thriving. For example, ride-hailing services are down as more people are choosing to stay home but food and grocery delivery services have increased and, for many, will become the new norm for grabbing dinner and grocery shopping. 

The virus’s impact seems dependent not just on the industry but location. In some areas, shutdown orders and public health restrictions have forced businesses to temporarily close or make changes to stay open. Many restaurants adjusted to provide take-out services while dining in was not permitted. Doctors and therapists adopted new technologies that allowed them to continue seeing patients. Virtual telehealth visits have become so popular and widespread, they will likely continue even after this pandemic disruption. 

Obviously, many who rely on the gig economy for their livelihood haven’t been so lucky. Some, for example, a freelance photographer who is hired to photograph weddings and other large gatherings, haven’t been able to work or have likely seen a rather large dip in their business. Similarly, direct sellers who rely on parties or more informal gatherings for new business, might have seen declines in people’s willingness to attend or host.  What’s worse, others have had to make the difficult choice between keeping themselves and their families safe and working. Gig workers are sometimes forced to work without a safety net that typically comes with traditional employment. With no paid sick leave, if their work was disrupted by COVID-19, whether they got sick or were forced to quarantine because someone in their family was sick, they had to go without that income.

COVID-19 Has Exposed Some Weakness in Both the Traditional and Gig Economies

The pandemic has exposed some weaknesses in our current way of doing things. It may result in many traditional companies changing their day-to-day operations to look a bit more like the gig economy. With so much uncertainty, it wouldn’t be surprising if companies allow employees to work remotely permanently. This gives employees more flexibility and freedom. DirectScale has chosen this path. Companies may also decide to rely on more contract employees on a project-by-project basis as a way to address the current economic uncertainty instead of hiring full-time employees to do the work.

Even small businesses are more likely to rely on digital channels, even if they’re a brick-and-mortar business, to become resilient in all of this uncertainty. This means relying on gig workers to carry out functions that traditional employees performed prior to COVID-19.

The fact that gig employees aren’t guaranteed safe working conditions or employment benefits has become a heavily discussed topic during the pandemic. This weakness has recently been addressed in the federal stimulus bill that allowed some gig workers to temporarily claim unemployment benefits. Even some cities, such as Seattle, have required food delivery apps and transportation network companies to provide paid sick leave to their gig workers. While these measures are temporary, they could signal a shift in how gig workers are treated and the benefits they receive. It’s possible that some gig workers might permanently get benefits and guarantees of better working conditions. This blurs the legal line of who is an employee and who is an independent contractor.

More People Are Turning To The Gig Economy

It’s not all bad news for the gig economy. The pandemic seems to be pushing people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in the gig economy to seriously consider new possibilities. Some people now find themselves unemployed and searching for work. Others may be looking for ways to protect and bolster their finances by picking up a second or third job. For some, returning to their current work situation may not feel like the safest or most comfortable option and are looking for a remote alternative. Some people who have now experienced the benefits of remote working may be looking to continue working that way permanently instead of returning to their traditional job.

Whether it’s because people now find themselves unemployed or have found the freedom of remote working liberating, opportunities in the gig economy just might be what they’re looking for. As the country tries to recover from its large unemployment rate because of the pandemic, one of the biggest and most-lasting changes from the pandemic may be the increased number of people taking advantage of the benefits of the gig economy.

In this rapidly changing world, the unmatched direct selling platform of DirectScale connects companies with their field reps, providing not only an enjoyable, loyalty-driving experience, but also provides the opportunity to employ gig workers with life-changing career developments even in this uncertain time. Workers who are taught how to be successful by those who employ them will earn more income and, ultimately, drive more growth for their respective companies. That way, everyone wins.


From Our CEO

At DirectScale, we know we’ve built the best platform in the industry. We’re the best at what we do. We built the company to help connect people who want and need better lives with the career opportunities that can get them there. That’s where you and your company become the critical piece. Using our decades of combined direct selling experience and knowledge, we provide not only the most powerful back office of the future for all your independent distributors and the retail shops and replicated websites, but we also provide the optimum corporate office with an unmatched commissions engine and all the other tools you need to manage your entire company. With DirectScale, we’ll help you grow and build your company the way you want to. And as you grow, your people and the economy wins!

About DirectScale, Inc.

Based in Lindon, Utah, DirectScale has been setting the standard for social and direct sales industry software platforms since 2013. DirectScale’s powerful SaaS platform boasts fully configurable management tools that are vital to not only running, but to efficiently tracking and growing a business.

With its focus on providing an intuitive and impactful customer experience to both corporate clients and independent sellers, DirectScale has revolutionized the way direct selling businesses can be launched and managed. Through the DirectScale Multisided Marketplace, customers are able to choose from multiple external service providers or opt to integrate with their own preferred providers to extend the power of the platform and even override core processes to exactly fit their own needs.

The platform is fully extensible using REST APIs and therefore, able to meet the custom needs of corporate users and independent sellers. DirectScale is committed to helping both organizations and their distributors plan for and drive growth. Its vast experience in the direct sales and software industries have proven time and again that the company truly understands how to help clients succeed. To learn more or request a demo, visit directscale.com.