The gig economy is a reality that the entire construction industry will have to contend with – one being working remotely in the Construction industry. It’s just a fact that more people are finding ways to comfortably work from home now. It’s a result of the proliferation of the Internet and the sharing economy. It’s predicted that by 2022, 60% of all office-based employees will regularly work from home.
This not only carries a lot of benefits for the employees, but for the employers as well. Since it’s going to happen anyway, the construction industry will have to deal with the impact of the gig economy. Here are some of the impacts, both positive and negative, that will follow.
Construction Benefits from the Gig-Economy
At the moment, the percentage of gig workers is around 10.1%. That’s a decline in the overall number since 2005. However, that number’s authenticity is disputed by the Upwork Freelancers Union. It says that 35% of workers have participated in some sort of project or contract in the past year.
In the construction industry, that trend is increasing, regardless of the work being primary or a side gig. That upward trend is going to continue with the proliferation of 5G and smartphones.
Working remotely in the Construction industry can actually be really good for construction; the reason for this is the huge number of temporary employees required by construction companies. Nearly 57% of companies hired a temporary employee in the last year.
Working remotely in the Construction industry can be a boom for construction businesses, especially new ones. Since they only require most employees for the duration of a project, they won’t need to invest in them as much. Working from home would allow employees to comfortably set their own hours. This would make the delivery of work much easier and more efficient.
Millennials Preference for Gig Work
Millennials have a preference for gig work. Data shows that Gen Y and Gen Z both prefer to work from home in overwhelming numbers. More than that, remote workers have increased from 39% to 43% according to a Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report.
This will save resources like electricity, electronic hardware, food supplies, and even real estate. Hence, smaller construction businesses, as well as large ones, won’t have to pay through the nose for infrastructure.
Cross Pollination of Skills
Due to the nature of the gig economy, it’s much more likely that your workers have side gigs. This will probably mean they have other skills they’re providing to other employers. Ultimately, that is a good thing. This will improve the likelihood of your employees having skills you need. Even if they’re working their other gig in fashion, or something completely unrelated, you may find those skills useful someday.
The proliferation of the gig economy will allow construction industries to fully appreciate the benefits of virtual assistants and online business managers. The fast flowing pace of the economy will allow greater opportunities for mundane tasks to be handled by virtual assistants. These will vastly improve the speed of workflow and make signing and approving plans and documents much faster.
Negative Impacts of the Gig Economy on Construction Businesses
There will of course, be some negatives for working remotely in the Construction industry when the economy completely shifts. However, that is to be expected with such a seismic change.
Worker Interest May Decline
It’s easy to see why this is. If you’re hiring a full time employee, they’ll probably be more dedicated to the company than a freelance hire. Someone whose bread and butter is a single company is bound to be more loyal and more active. A freelancer, who has many gigs, may seem disinterested on one project and very interested in the next.
However, there is a flip side to this. It may allow for people to be valued much better. It may also force the construction industry to find ways to keep their work more interesting or their workers interested.
It may trigger a change in the way construction firms pay their employees. While that’s a win for civil liberties and worker’s unions, it’s also a win for the industry. Any industry that pays its workers better has improved in my book.
Hiring Processes May Suffer
This is a legitimate concern for many companies. Remote workers will be a list of skills to companies, hiring processes may become devoid of emphasizing loyalty or passion. That will definitely result in companies getting more skilled, but under-performing workers.
Construction companies should be wary of this change. They should institute better and more objective hiring processes that explore a worker’s capacity for loyalty and passion.
Great Talent Will Become More Expensive
I can’t say that this is a bad thing. Good talent should be valued greatly. It will mean that construction companies will have to cough up more for the same. However, companies should pay their most talented employees a fair wage. If the gig economy brings a shift in the overall payment process for the better, then I’m all for it.
If it costs construction businesses a pretty penny, that’s a small price to pay for worker’s rights. Yet, there is incentive for construction companies to start vetting their gig workers more objectively here. They shouldn’t be handing out huge bonuses to under-performing employees. This goes back to the last point of valuing passion and loyalty.
The gig economy is bringing huge changes in to the world. It will irrevocably change construction. How the industry responds will determine the future.
To stay ahead of the evolution, consider working with an Online Business Manager for your construction business. We will help you streamline your business and manage your day-to-day business functions so you can focus ON your business and not stress IN your business. Contact us today for a Client Discovery call.