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Why Losing Employees to the Gig Economy Is Actually Good For Business

Opportunity creates more opportunities.

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BY Jeff Barrett - 13 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The idea of losing your employees to freelance side work seems pretty terrifying. After all, how can you compete with the freedom and flexibility that the gig economy offers?

In the first 12 years of this century, income fell eight percent while rent went up by thirteen. Meanwhile, the average duration of unemployment has lengthened, skilled workers are increasingly threatened by automation, and anything resembling security or pensions is as laughably antiquated as a gag out of the Jetsons.

So it's no wonder people have lost faith in regular jobs to sustain them. Because regular jobs don't do that anymore.

The gig economy isn't poaching your talent--it's an opportunity

The gig economy comes along and offers your workers flexible hours and pay, the ability to be their own boss and work as much, or as little, as they need to. So of course they're going to take this route! It doesn't matter that there's no security, stability, rights, or benefits--most regular jobs don't offer those anymore. There's really not a lot of options for most workers.

"I wanted an outlet that lets me be creative, but also an outlet that lets me make money on the side," says Ian Balina, entrepreneur and author of The Complete Freelancer's Guide. And who doesn't want that? Balina expresses the sentiment of many a gig economy freelancer.

But freelancing side hustles can become major income earners, and then when people start leaving their jobs.

If you're feeling like the gig economy is a threat because it's poaching your employees, it's time to adapt instead of resisting! Because all told, the gig economy benefits businesses more than anyone. How? Let's take a look.

What's in the gig economy for you?

Most of the jobs necessary to run your business can probably be outsourced to freelancers. What's in it for you? Quite a lot, actually.

To start with, say goodbye to employee overhead. In the gig economy, your newfound flexibility with costs frees you of your company's greatest expense: full time employees.

1. Fresh blood. Freelancers bring in new perspectives from outside of the company's walls. They liven things up and pollinate your workplace with new ideas.

2. Leverage innovation by putting together creative teams. You can even assemble groups of freelancers into mini-departments to help run things.

3. Getting tasks done more efficiently with less overhead in a culture that fosters creative innovation and fresh perspective? How about yes please!

While you're leaving your competitors in the dust by contracting freelancers, take some time to get educated on what it's like to work from a freelancer's perspective.

Balina drew upon his gig economy expertise to write his comprehensive guide, which outlines how to turn your hobby or side project into a main source of income. This carries tremendous value not only to gig economy workers, but those looking to employ them, too.

Facilitate your way to success

When you don't own your assets and you don't employ your staff, you become a facilitator. This may or may not increase your gross product, but it definitely increases your profit margin. It also means your "staff" have more self-determination and responsibility, which means they're happier and more empowered. We all know that happy workers are an important key to success. This will do wonders for your operations.

It's difficult to pin down how many freelancers there are in the pool available for you to draw from. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that freelancing in every industry sector escalated from 2003 to 2013. The 'other services' sector alone, which includes freelancing staples such as pet-sitting and on-demand repair jobs, saw an increase of a million non-employer businesses.

If you want an idea of the immense variety of tasks that you can outsource, check out Balina's app, PeerHustle. It's a handy resource for connecting people who have odd jobs with people who have odd skills. BULLIT, a growing social resume site is another good resource as more Millennials look to showcase their skills for the gig economy.

Redraw your teams

This should get the wheels turning. Next draw out a diagram tree of all the jobs in your organization. Write them out separately, even if one person fills multiple posts. Then start to think about how you can fill those positions using freelancers, perhaps even remotely. Organize your new team into groups to maximize innovation.

Soon you might be closing that expensive office space and working from the comfort of your own balcony at home, drinking homebrewed coffee instead of the communal company brand. You'll be getting more done, with greater efficiency, and enjoying a higher return. This is the gig economy working for you.