How the gig economy is affecting business

by Ofentse Sefolo
How the gig economy is affecting business

With the introduction of new technology that has granted many professionals the freedom to flee the confined workspace and venture into a new realm where they can pick and choose their projects, the gig economy is expanding day by day.

There is no denying the fact that the gigging world within our industry is particularly large. This trend in the market brings with it a wide array of pros and cons both for businesses and for the “giggers” themselves. The question is, how does it affect payroll? How does it affect intellectual property? And, most importantly, how can businesses and giggers maximise the benefits? We investigate.

How does gigging affect payroll?

Hiring giggers, otherwise known as temporary workers or freelancers, for either short-term or long-term projects has a direct effect on company payroll, often making it more complicated for businesses to remain compliant if they are not aware of the ins and outs. However, in many cases, hiring a gigger or freelancer means that companies can save money in the long run, choosing only to make use of their services whenever they are truly necessary, rather than hiring a full-time in-house employee who needs to be paid a stipulated salary every month. The solution is to invest in new software and for companies to update their financial processes.

“Companies that are still clinging to the old way of doing things will soon have to start relooking at software and web-based solutions available on the market. There are great payroll solutions that can automate many of the calculations for you and ensure you are meeting your tax, UIF and other statutory obligations,” says Jethro Malapane, Executive Committee Member at the South African Payroll Association (SAPA)

The downside for giggers is that they do not have access to the same types of benefits that full time workers are offered.

“If you are a gig worker, you likely benefit from a more flexible working schedule and the ability to choose the jobs that you pitch for. The downfall is that companies aren’t obligated to offer you the same types of benefits that full-time workers receive. You have to do your financial planning yourself,” says Malapane. This includes planning and setting money aside for provisional tax contributions.

Gigging and intellectual property for architects

One of the most commonly asked questions by freelancers and giggers, and architects in particular, is what happens to my intellectual property when I leave a firm at which I was gigging?” Patent, trademark and copyright attorneys, Smit & Van Wyk, have this to say on the subject, “As a rule of thumb, to protect against infringement, architects use the phrase ‘copyright protected’ and the specific year of the work when they make drawings and or designs, ensuring protection granted by copyright regarding the architecture. If one wishes to register copyright in architecture, it can be done by registering such for the building design and the specifications as technical drawings.”

Millennials and gig work

Millennials are leading the pack when it comes to the gigging trend. According to new stats, more than 25% of SME businesses are welcoming gig economy relationships – and the majority of those giggers are, unsurprisingly, millennials. However, research has shown that Generation X-ers play a big role in this economy too.

What is the main reason why so many people, regardless of age, are turning to gig work as opposed to full time employment? According to a combination of surveys from Intuit and LinkedIn, 63% of giggers are of the opinion that a portfolio of clients is more reliable than a single employer, particularly in today’s economy. In addition, 57% claim that it is possible to earn more through gigging than through working a full time 9-5 job.

Why gigging?

Ultimately, gigging provides both companies and freelancers with the ultimate freedom, as well as a chance to strike up a better work/life balance. For companies, there is no need to be tied into a long-term relationship with an employee or pay a full salary for seasonal work. For giggers, they have the opportunity to select jobs that really inspire them and to gain experience working on different types of projects with a broad array of different types of employers and, depending on the work they do, in different industries too.

The gigging economy is here to stay. Perhaps it is time for more companies and workers to take full advantage of this tailored 21st century opportunity for growth.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.apiumhub.com, www.vox.com, www.hrzone.com, www.business-reporter.co.uk, www.businessnewsdaily.com, www.businesslive.co.za and www.svw.co.za for some of the information contained in this article.

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