May 19, 2020 7 min read Opinions revealed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The worldwide health crisis has rocked the sharing economy. Uber and Lyft chauffeurs have seen their incomes plunge as people shelter in place. Airbnb bookings have actually tumbled, and its services have actually been prohibited in some cities and states. Gig workers at a number of business are objecting a absence of fundamental protections like hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and sick pay. This crisis has brought to a head issues that have actually been hiding in the wings for years.
As a professor who looks into the sharing economy, I have actually discovered that the functions that make it so successful– especially its versatile, decentralized, independent workforce– produce both distinct chances and vulnerabilities. The tensions of our current situation have made these contradictions clearer than ever. Related: 5 Ways Business Owners Can Rebound After a Crisis Willthis public health emergency situation push the sharing economy to progress? Or will it
throw the entire organisation design into question? The answer depends upon whether business can adjust quickly and discover ways to create a virtuous cycle of benefits for both customers and workers, along with their bottom lines. Sharing economy giants like Uber and Airbnb have become so common that their ability to survive will have severe implications for the economy as a whole. The most innovative element of the sharing economy is a special relationship in between companies and their workers. Instead of hiring and handling a conventional labor force, these businesses produce platforms for people to sell services and items, from usage of their cars and homes to their time and abilities. An approximated one-third of U.S. employees are now taken part in “gig work, “much of it through sharing economy marketplaces. The sharing economy’s flexibility and low barriers to entry have long interested workers who can choose when and how much to work, or who want to pick up side hustles to earn additional earnings. Now, we may see people who have actually been laid off flock to gig work in an effort to make ends satisfy, such as the 250,000 new users who signed up to work for Instacart during the first week of April. At the very same time, the tenuous relationship in between sharing economy companies and their employees is revealing signs of pressure. Some annoyed Instacart workers have just quit or changed to competing services like Postmates, while others are striking for safer working conditions. Though business like Uber and Lyft are using ill pay, lots of workers report problem collecting benefits or conference eligibility requirements. Related: 10 Ways Startups Can Rotate From Growth to Functional Effectiveness Throughouta Crisis These challenges expose how precarious sharing economy tasks can be for workers, most of whom are classified as independent contractors. This suggests they are not guaranteed a stable
earnings and typically lack basic advantages like paid authorized leave, medical insurance and access to unemployment assistance. Over the last few years, gig employees at Uber and other companies have combated to be recognized as workers to obtain greater defenses. These continuous issues about the absence of security paid for by sharing economy jobs have boiled over during these trying times
, leading to extremely advertised strikes and needs that companies much better protect their workers. Policymakers are also getting involved, as states like Michigan and Colorado check out methods to assist gig workers access unemployment benefits. A workforce of independent contractors presents difficulties for business too. Because these companies are so decentralized
, it is harder for them to manage the behavior of employees and sellers throughout their platforms to make sure consumers have a great experience. Airbnb, for example, has struggled in recent years to protect the safety of hosts and visitors and faced backlash after a series of sexual attacks at its properties. Related: 10 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Must Learn more aboutTheir Company The current crisis has made the hidden issues of decentralization clearer than ever. Although Grubhub, Postmates, and other food delivery services have actually announced precautions such as
contactless shipment, dining establishments and consumers have little guarantee that motorists are following appropriate protocols. In an attempt to dissuade dangerous public health behavior, Airbnb provided standards for how hosts represent their homes throughout the pandemic. Yet there are still listings motivating individuals to” Quarantine in Paradise!” with pals or offering toilet tissue as a perk. This circumstance has laid bare a few of the core contradictions of a sharing economy built on a decentralized, independent and frequently precarious labor force. Companies will need to adjust quickly to mount a cohesive reaction that satisfies workers and clients, both of whom are important to their continued success. The flexibility developed into the sharing economy model might be a possession for companies aiming to innovate quickly. Uber, for example, has urged struggling drivers to shift to its food shipment service Uber Consumes.
In many cases, employees’ demands for better defenses might carefully align with the interests of customers who are likewise concerned about their health. Previous research my colleagues and I conducted found a virtuous cycle on sharing economy platforms like Airbnb where good behavior from sellers causes much better behavior from purchasers, and vice versa. If business can find a way to harness favorable feedback loops around employee and consumer safety, they may have the ability to secure the trust of both groups.
This logic also applies to securing employees economically. Some sharing economy business rapidly recognized that if they didn’t provide some form of paid authorized leave, they might be forcing employees into a difficult choice– “ hunger or illness”– potentially putting consumers at risk as a result. Particularly in competitive sectors like food shipment, visible failures to safeguard employees could lead and concern clients to (further) losses of income.
The government might likewise require to step in to ensure gig workers are safeguarded. This crisis might be the tipping point that lastly leads policymakers and companies to deal with the precarity of gig work by offering a better safeguard including access to health and welfare, higher income stability and paid leave.
The sharing economy’s capability to weather this storm will have broader effect on the economy, offered how thoroughly it has penetrated our local and national workforces and markets. In a current paper, my coworkers and I found that increased activity on home-sharing platforms like Airbnb increased regional dining establishment earnings, often in locations outside standard tourist districts. A slump might have the opposite impact.
Regional economies might likewise be affected as gig employees who have actually lost income shift gears. For example, some hosts are converting their now-empty Airbnb homes into long-term rentals, potentially reversing a pattern we revealed in our previous research study on Airbnb’s impact on regional rental real estate markets. To endure this pandemic, the sharing economy must attend to a few of its underlying contradictions by guaranteeing the security
of both customers and workers. Business that are able to do so might even come out ahead if they can safely offer necessary services like grocery delivery. However, if the sharing economy can not handle its fundamental vulnerabilities in a minute of crisis, it could spell completion of its meteoric rise as a company design. Related: Uber to Riders and Drivers: Lose or use a mask Access to App Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.