With more than a billion shift workers in the global gig economy, workplace laws are starting to align with the increasing number of people who work multiple casual jobs or are independent contractors in the shift worker economy. 

“There is a revolution happening in the global workforce,” says Planday CEO Christian Brøndum.

“Workers are becoming increasingly flexible and mobile and — more than ever — time is the greatest asset they have to leverage in the labour market.

“Since 2004 Planday has been helping empower people to use that asset to schedule and plan their lives in a way which suits them and their employers.

“But with a lag in workplace laws — and company cultures — finally catching up with the way people want to work, greater scrutiny is now put on those which don’t adapt to the changing marketplace and workers’ rights in the 21st Century.”

Christian said an August BBC report finding the UK’s Costa Coffee franchise workers were “not treated like humans” shows the need for companies to pay better attention to gig economy workers’ rights.

“In my parent’s generation, it was common for people to work at one company for 30, maybe 40 years.

“Today, Millennials and Gen X lead the trend of people having several careers, with two years now considered a long time with one employer. If employees are not happy or achieve everything they want from a job, they will — and do — move on.

“The message for employers and companies from this shift in the market is clear: you must become an employer of choice to attract and retain good staff.”

How do you do that?

It might sound simple, but retaining good staff starts with knowing their rights.

  1. Know the rules

Top view of a paper contract

The European Parliament approved a set of basic rights for gig economy workers in April 2019, increasing transparency and accountability for the EU’s 3 million “a-typical” — or gig-economy — workers. 

Here are some of the new EU rules at a glance:

  • A workers’ conditions must now be made clear on the employee’s first day of employment or within the first week
  • Exclusivity arrangements in contracts are now banned 
  • Probationary periods must only last six months
  • And mandatory training — which must be treated as work time — should be provided by the employer free of charge

The new rules will come into force over three years.

UK gig economy workers’ rights

In the United Kingdom, a series of recommendations were floated in an inquiry into gig economy workers’ rights last year. With the gig economy doubling — to more than 4.7 million UK workers — this is one to keep an eye on.

  1. Be flexible

Twisted pencil on yellow background

Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. 

That’s why an increasing number of workers want flexibility and the ability to manage their availability from anywhere, anytime. Managers also need to be able to ensure they have the right people — with the right skills — at the right time, especially in the social care sector.

“If the greatest asset people have is their time you need to let them take advantage of it,” Christian says.

“By showing you value an employee’s time — and the time they are available to work with your business — you can grow trust and transparency, and retain the right people in your business for longer.

Many studies have shown that workers know the 20th Century 9am to 5pm day is outdated. People want flexibility around their working hours and will reward businesses that understand it not only with better work, but better work for longer.”

  1. Embrace the cloud

“Today’s smartphones are faster and more powerful than the computers which put people on the moon,” Christian says. 

“And around the world there are several billions of them, packets of power in people’s pockets, changing almost every part of life with greater connectivity and capacity.

“For workers this is revolutionising the global workforce. For business it has seen traditional accounting and scheduling systems head for the history books.

“In the digital age, traditional management systems have been outrun by cloud-based technology in almost every part of business. From simpler scheduling to easy expenses and other day-to-day tasks, the cloud solves data back-up issues and makes off-site disaster recovery a thing of the past.”

  1. Communicate the culture you want

Dog looking at woman working on her laptop

Free beer Fridays? Dogs in the office? Sounds like a good company culture! (And one we actively promote at Planday)

But more than a few cans in the fridge, “culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room,” says Frances Frei & Anne Morriss in the Harvard Business Review.

And it is also the key to keeping valuable staff for longer.

“Money might be what motivates most people to come to work, but the culture is what will keep them there for longer,” says Naomi Trickey, VP of People & Culture at Planday. 

“Starting with a talented team, company culture can make your business the envy of the market. It will bring bright people together — working together toward scaling and growing the company, exploring and succeeding in new markets or meeting the strategy KPIs managers and the CEO might set.

“But it’s something that can’t be faked. It has to be worked on and encouraged, constantly, to pay off. And that comes down to clear and open communication.”

For tips on building a great company culture — and to check how yours is — click here. 

  1. The Planday difference

While the gig economy grows and workplace laws catch up, Planday is your partner in maximising employee engagement, keeping up to date with workplace trends and making flexibility your friend.

“Planday is powering the global workforce revolution, helping Millennials — which will soon be the biggest demographic in the work market — maximise their skill set and manage their time in their own way,” Christian says.

“We enable businesses to give gig economy workers the flexibility they need with the on-demand communication they deserve.

“And when it comes to franchisees like Costa Coffee, who are dealing with high numbers of staff across many different locations and situations, we can perhaps show them how a best practice approach to managing shift workers might actually increase staff retention, and make them an employer of choice.” 



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