Supporting the Wellbeing of Gig Workers and Freelancers
Supporting the Well-being of Gig Workers and Freelancers
Gig workers and freelancers enjoy the flexibility inherent in the gig economy. However, job stability is a constant pain point. They also lack the employment-related benefits that provide financial stability and overall wellbeing.
Without employer benefits and training, some gig workers feel unsupported in this area. Here are some ways that employers and policymakers can support the wellbeing of gig workers.
Provide meaningful benefits
Gig workers generally desire high-value benefits that traditional workers get to enjoy. Employers should be cognizant of the needs and wellbeing of gig workers. A food delivery driver, for example, would require benefits that adequately reflect the risk of the precarious nature of their gig work such as personal accident protection. Companies can provide meaningful benefits to attract and support the gig workforce such as training and development, work-related insurance coverage, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, and income protection.
Gig workers would feel more engaged and have a positive working experience with companies that provide an attractive health and benefits package. Employers should be aware of the gig workers’ motivations and challenges when tailoring meaningful packages. These benefits will improve staff wellbeing and boost performance that ultimately translate into business success.
Integrate gig workers into the workforce culture
The number of gig employees is expected to increase within the blended workforce in the future of work. Companies need to recognise the importance of gig workers at all levels. Businesses should build a company culture and organisational purpose that seamlessly integrate gig workers into their workforce.
Foster a culture of wellbeing
Gig workers can experience great amounts of stress such as being overloaded with work or worrying about unstable or inadequate income. Gig work can be isolating without meaningful interaction or support from other team members. Employers could embrace a greater sense of responsibility for everyone working for them; and move towards providing a culture of fairness and equality.
Implement health and safety regulations
Research shows that workers may suffer psychological harm when working under precarious working conditions such as those seen in the gig economy. Health and safety regulations need to be established for gig workers. Policymakers can act against the spread of precarious working conditions to counter the issues caused by the gig economy; as well as promote fair employment and quality work.
Provide access to mental health support
It is important to acknowledge the psychological dimensions of the gig economy. Gig workers can be emotionally vulnerable. Increasing awareness of the mental health challenges encountered by gig workers is therefore crucial.
Fostering knowledge about mental health among gig workers could help them take positive action promptly when faced with mental health issues. It is important to provide access to mental health support such as stress and anxiety management for gig workers and the self-employed.
Bhalla, Anu. (2021, August 11). “Both Gig Workers and Freelancers Enjoy the Flexibility of Gig Work But Miss Employment-Related Benefits That Would Bring Them Better Financial Stability and Overall Wellness”. Globe Newswire. Published 11 August 2021, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/08/11/2278862/0/en/Both-Gig-Workers-and-Freelancers-enjoy-the-flexibility-of-gig-work-but-miss-employment-related-benefits-that-would-bring-them-better-financial-stability-and-overall-wellness.html
Cunningham, Andrew. (2020, May 20). “Businesses Must Step Up to Support Gig Workers”. LinkedIn. Published 29 May 2020, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/businesses-must-step-up-support-gig-workers-andrew-cunningham?articleId=6672071395595321344
Gross, Sally-Anne, Musgrave, George, and Janciute, Laima. “Well-Being and Mental Health in the Gig Economy”. Communication and Media Research Institute. Accessed 12 September 2022, https://library.oapen.org/bitstream/id/2eef9b63-aa4c-4028-9b7d-b390224cec43/well-Being-and-mental-health-in-the-gig-economy.pdf