The 9 to 5 office job is at risk of dying out as workers seek more flexible ways to earn a living post-pandemic, researchers have warned.
And it’s not just employees who are looking to make big changes.
According to a report from the Future of Work Institute (FoWI), those who hire them are increasingly looking to ditch full-time staff in favour of gig workers who can complete on-call assignments.
The report, which looks at changes in the working landscape after the Covid pandemic, examines how many people forced into hybrid or fully-remote working models will look to avoid returning to the Monday to Friday grind once offices reopen.
Alok Alstrom, founder of the FoWI, said: “This month many workplaces will be looking to bring staff back to the office for the first time since March last year.
“Many people will have grown accustomed to the flexibility and various benefits working from home can bring, and we think they won’t be willing to give them up so easily.”
The FoWI research has identified ‘a new paradigm’ for traditional professional work since the global adoption of remote working.
The report states how businesses have been forced to ‘rethink their workspaces, their talent pools, and what skills they look for in talents’.
‘By shifting their workplaces to home offices,’ the study continues, ‘many employers are finding new opportunities in supplementing their resourcing needs with freelancers and contingent labour. Workers are following this trend as well.’
Mr Alstrom continued: “We’ve already seen how business models can be upended overnight so it’s naive to think all workplaces will go back to exactly how things were before.
“Young people stream their TV shows when they want to watch them, they order their dinner to arrive when they want to eat it, and they can order many goods online with same-day delivery.
“The on-demand culture is rising so quickly that on-demand working is the obvious next step.
“Rather than being locked into working eight hours a day from Monday to Friday, the gig economy means people can pick up assignments or gigs when they want and complete them in a timeframe they choose.”
Data from leading global platform AppJobs shows the UK’s gig economy is on course to surge 300% in three years.
According to the website, which helps workers find paid roles using multiple apps, in the first six months of this year they saw a 23% rise in the number of people connecting with opportunities.
The gig economy is a flexible way of working in which people are paid for each ‘gig’ they perform, rather than a specific daily or hourly rate.
This means they can work across various apps doing different jobs and at a time to suit them.
Mr Alstrom said: “The pandemic caused a rapid growth in e-commerce, e-service and delivery businesses.
“Many people moved to the gig economy working for multiple platforms at the same time to maximise income and have full flexibility when and where to work.”
While AppJobs data did not show any significant correlation between unemployment and the gig economy, FoWI bosses say they think a desire for a work-life balance will lead a new wave of workers to the gig economy once offices fully reopen.
Mr Alstrom said: “People around the world are feeling increased stress and anxiety over working environments, ‘always on’ availability, and balancing childcare with work demands.
“As we enter the post-pandemic era, they will likely demand more balance in their workload or hybrid workplace models that allow them to work from home and the office.
“If they can’t achieve this, it will inevitably mean choosing gigs rather than a traditional career.”
Employers may also see benefits, with the report adding: ‘White collar workplaces have the opportunity to leverage key aspects of the gig economy by accessing top talent to build a contingent labour pool.
‘These pools of on-demand skilled workers can be valuable assets to special projects or to address specific needs within a traditionally employed team at critical junctures.’
AppJobs gives users the chance to find work, review apps they’ve worked with, get essentials such as insurance and tax support, and improve career advancement in the gig economy.
AppJobs has founded the Future of Work Institute, sharing insights and collaborating with researchers to provide stakeholders within the labour market and gig economy with up-to-date data and stats. You can see their latest report here.