Gigworker Report Contributed Views

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Gigworker Report Contributed Views

This online Panel Discussion was held on 29.9.20 and was aimed at exploring the question “Are we all now Gigworkers” here are some of the contributed views from our attendees following the event.

Inge Dowden, Business Growth

Thanks for the link to the event. I did watch it, as I had indeed put time aside anyway and it sounded interesting.

You asked for the three things that stuck in my mind, so here goes:

  • Every crisis point is a potential catalyst for change. It will be painful, but from it, we can grow and develop new working relationships.
  • There is a substantial difference between voluntary gig workers (who love the freedoms and the opportunities) and forced gig workers (who are effectively underpaid, undervalued and left to too much insecurity). It’s important to distinguish the two.
  • There should never have been, and hopefully there will no longer be, a one-size-fits-all approach to employment. For some, home working is perfect, for others, the office is a haven of productivity and communication. Some people want to work part-time with a flexible approach to the days and times they work, others like a more rigid structure. The more flexibility is on offer, the better it is for everyone. The challenge will be in designing it in such a way that it is (or at least seems) fair for everyone.

Thanks very much for sharing such high value content – much appreciated.

Ian Parker <>

I much enjoyed this webinar.

Three things  – plus one!

  • Strong alignment that the world of work has changed and that we need better definitions of what “gig worker” means (better alignment between lawyers and HMRC would help!)
  • That in the new world of WFH there are serious challenges for onboarding, supporting, mentoring starters and colleagues
  • Employers need to change their thinking about gig workers. All too often the worker is thought of as a “low cost” flexible resource with no “rights” The employer needs to consider how, if this is their business model, they attract, retain, develop and offer wider employment benefits. Zero hours does not have to mean no benefits
  • Need to distinguish between disguised zero hours gig workers – largely in hospitality, care homes, retail – and those who have opted for a self directed profession as sound engineers, interim managers etc

David Sykes,  Grange Management Solutions Ltd ,

A copy of the summary would be great when possible. 3 things that struck me were;

  • Remote working
    • How we can support team members to feel connected to the organisation
    • Use of reduced office space for
    • Those team members that need to come to the office for their well being
    • Specific meetings to enable team to think more broadly in a way not so easy on Zoom etc
  • Will there be enough work to go around. ( for this read Susskind ‘a world without work) Interesting the thought that there are significant sector differences with some sectors struggling to attract employees eg; social care. Interesting I am currently reading a book by David Goodhart called ‘Head, hand & heart’ which suggests that it is time for a rethink in the way that we value different contributions with a need to relook at the value / wages given to work of the heart & the hand.
    • The Manager / employee relationship in the remote working world
    • Need for mentoring / buddying
    • Responsibilities of managers
    • Different uses of text/ WhatsApp/ zoom/ email

From: Claire Evans <

Hi David. I thought this event was very interesting and thought-provoking. The top 3 things that came out of it for me were:

The increased role of all levels of manager in helping their team, supporting their wellbeing etc. I think effective managers can make a huge difference by doing small  things. For example, my manager at Aegon set up a WhatsApp group for his team and even though I’ve left Aegon, I am still a part of it. The dynamic of the team has completely changed. The team are now much more like friends than colleagues, whilst we also respect each other from a professional perspective. I think this is likely to mean that the team becomes much more effective at work, due to people supporting and helping each other out much more than they would have done in the past.>>>> teriffic

Thinking about how the normal office behaviour that hampers a work-life balance, plays out in a working from home environment (or ‘living at work’ which I thought was a brilliant twist). For example, people responding to emails on a Sunday evening, even when they’re told they don’t need to, is probably an alternative to people showing the boss they’re super-committed by working late in the office. It’s probably just as detrimental to health that people do this and employers (managers) need to be aware of it. >>>> yes managers have to apply VERY’ people sensitive’ skills. top down direction is NOT so sensible any more

Strikes me that there are a lot of changes the government needs to make to their policies to support the job market changes that have arisen from covid. Government/civil service is generally there to effectively maintain the status quo of societal structures, with the need to introduce some major changes from time to time. The private sector is much better at managing major change programmes. How can the government harness the knowledge and expertise of the private sector in managing a significant change agenda without just using very expensive consultants and lawyers?>>>> my own hobby horse, public servants are NOT good at getting the best from outsider help.

From: Peter Henry <>

I have just listened to this Devonshire House Webinar.  It is really good to have input from such a high calibre of people.

Three things.

  • Home working
    • The right balance of office/home working needs considerable thought by employers
    • This needs to ensure work and home life can be separated
    • Some staff home environment is not suitable
    • The split between Like/OK/Not OK for staff needs to be understood and catered for.
    • The need to train managers to ‘manage/develop their staff is crucial
    • The lack of proximity is a serious downside and has special problems for new recruits, especially the young. (water cooler moments)
    • Senior managers may have a fear of being left out.
    • The is an opportunity for relationship development taking care to consider which communication method is used
    • As the situations changes, good communication is absolutely crucial and quite difficult as companies are traditionally bad at internal communications
  • Employment
    • The panel focused on the short-term issues which is defined as frictional unemployment.  That is people with the wrong skills in the wrong place
    • While this is understandable the panel really haven’t yet got their minds round what AI will bring in the future
    • In any case the capitalist model isn’t working and we need to consider how we move to a more moralistic way of thinking.  People deserve a satisfying life irrespective of levels of skills and talents.  This doesn’t mean no responsibility, everyone should contribute to the welfare of society, but not necessarily by what we now define as work (adding to GDP).
  • Gig Working
    • Much work needed to create a system that provides the level of flexibility needed in our rapidly changing world of work (IR35)
    • Together with the fairness safeguards, sick pay and pensions etc.