Managing tomorrow’s flexible workforce

Nov 12 2020 by Management-Issues Print This Article

The UK economy is moving to increasingly flexible employment, with one in seven workers now on flexible contracts. They are also taking on smaller, incremental projects as companies source talent for specific pieces of work.

To better understand these shifting work patterns, we speak to John Whelan, CEO of My Digital about what he calls the new trend for 'quantum employment'.

Q. How does Quantum employment differ from traditional flexible employment?

Traditionally, the gig economy meant that workers had a flexible contract with one or maybe two companies. While the working hours may not have been 9-5, the frequency of work in the temporary labour market was relatively stable and predictable.

The difference with quantum employment is that the temporary labour market has speeded up and that work is divided up work into the small packages. Today, it’s not uncommon for contractors to work just a morning, or for a number of hours one day, and then work double shifts later that week. A freelancer might have a packed day juggling tasks for several different employers, with each task ranging from minutes to hours.

Q. How can employers capitalise on this increasingly flexible workforce?

Quantum employment has the advantage of capturing a broader spectrum of roles than the gig economy. For instance, a business may require copywriters for a day to assist their marketing efforts or software developers to inspect certain code languages for website updates. However, it also means that employers will have to use technology to create a new type of employment design to deal with quantum style working.

Q. What is the role of technology in managing the new workforce?

Whilst quantum employment enhances business agility, management teams need to prepare for how they’ll manage their new found fleet of quantum workers, such as real time information on workers’ time, money and tax status to keep cash flow moving quickly. With a fluctuating elastic workforce, these associated complexities will rise significantly with scale. This means finding employment design solutions which are able to meet business needs without compromising accuracy or introducing risk.

Q. How are employers going to manage this?

Managers and management teams will need a level of granularity over their workers which was previously not possible. However, smart accounting technology is available that can handle the complexity of employing, paying and accounting for as many contractors as are needed at any time without significantly more time input.