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While historically, the idea of a 9-to-5 job in a company has been the established way to make a living, there is now a large section of the workforce who now generates income through shorter contracts—gigs. The stay-at-home orders passed in March and the millions suddenly seeking work during their displacement (and in many cases, unemployment) from the office space recently made it much harder for these gig workers to find such opportunities.

Let’s take a few moments to examine the gig economy and its functionality, and how COVID-19 has impacted it.

What Makes the Gig Economy Tick?

The financial crisis of 2009, along with the development of mobile services, urged many people to forego the traditional workforce and adopt gig work as an alternative. This resulted in nearly 40 percent of the workforce now working gigs, as studies have shown. These freelancers now work without the limitations placed by the traditional model, but also without the security the old model provided.

There are now hundreds of millions of gigs available, contributing to the fact that gig workers—all 57 million of them in the U.S.—were reportedly the most satisfied group of workers.

That is, before a global pandemic upended the economy.

With this pandemic, many businesses put operations on hold (if not closing completely) and demand for these gig workers plummeted as money grew tighter. Without incoming revenue, companies are simply offering fewer gigs and making the remaining ones less lucrative.

Compared to projections, corporate profit is down over 25 percent, leaving many workers out of work… including those that rely on gigs.

Tips to Make Gig Work, Work Better

Considering this lack of jobs and increased competition, work is harder to find. However, there are still many opportunities in the digital space.

In order to embrace these opportunities, it is important that you are able to first find them, and when you do so, keep these practices in mind:

  • Stick to a routine – Without a routine to follow, gig work can become quite difficult (especially in terms of the work schedule). While being able to work as you like is a benefit, you’re likely to miss opportunities if you don’t establish a set routine.
  • Enjoy what you do – Naturally, it is important to not only work when you like, but also to like the work you’re doing. The challenges that gig work can present are one of the enjoyable aspects of the job for the most successful to adopt it.
  • Network with your peers – When your livelihood relies on someone being aware of you and your work, marketing your services and networking sufficiently is crucial. There are many placement websites for people looking for gig workers and for gig workers to look for opportunities. Making a good impression opens the door for recurring clients and income. Meeting other people in your line of work also gives you the opportunity to gauge your competition.
  • Make sure you’re working comfortably – Tying back into the importance of a routine, you need to be sure you create an environment conducive to productive work. If you’re surrounded by distractions, your work will suffer. This is why it is important to establish a dedicated and focused area to do what you need to do.

While the gig economy has taken a hit, there are still many opportunities to embrace in the digital economy. Have you had any experience with gig work? If so, leave some tips in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for more IT wisdom.