Commentary by Matt Mittan
It’s not surprising to me that the “Gig-Economy” is expanding the way that it is. The “Gig-Economy” is the world ruled by entrepreneurs, independent contractors and the self employed. This is a segment of the economy that is populated by people who do what they want, the way they want to do it, on the schedule of their choosing. And, according to a report in Business News Daily, 36% of the American work force is already independent. And numerous workforce study reports predict that we will see the freelance workforce in America surpass 50% within the next 10-15 years. So why is this happening?
Of course, technology is a huge factor in the change. More and more people can be productive from just about anywhere, so long as they have internet or cellular connectivity to the outside world. And culturally, younger generations have a different mindset about work / home balance. But I think there’s more to it than that.
There are too many times, when I’m trying to deal with corporate entities, that common sense and rational thought processes go right out the window. I can’t explain why, but there is a certain paralysis that manifests itself within many large corporations. People are often locked into rigid habits and routines that void them of even the most basic of independent decisions. And even where there may be empowerment to take action on items, many in the large corporate culture seem unwilling to make moves that may draw attention or engage any level of risk. Better to stay the course than to be party to something that may not work out.
When absorbed into this kind of environment, many employees and managers are blind to the inefficiencies and obtuseness of their stagnation. Employees who do see and feel the frustration and inevitable failure of this mind set in a company end up leaving, either to a more empowered work environment or they branch out to work for themselves.
In the face of constant turn over of employees and the challenges many businesses face in recruiting talent, many choose not to adjust their ways but instead clamp down on their key personnel even more rigidly. This further stifles creativity and workplace morale, which more and more people seek as a key factor in a job. Corporations that are learning to embrace the trend of independent workers are picking up speed, not slowing down. Unfortunately, most still don’t get it.
Which brings me back to where I began, it’s not surprising to me that the “Gig-Economy” is expanding the way that it is. Corporate culture is dying in the hearts of the American worker.
(Matt Mittan hosts the afternoon drive show on Biz Radio Asheville and owns an insurance and employee benefits agency in Asheville, NC.)