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Big News: New to Remote Working? Have a Lesson From the Gig

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As world events push against workers towards a remote working model, individuals are looking to technology to help bridge the gap between day to day communication and company operations. For a few workforces, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally, although the coronavirus catastrophe is triggering a new way of working completely. For companies that rely on gig workers, remote working has turned into a method of life for a while.

Think beyond Deliveroo and Uber: gig employees cover an enormous selection of occupations, such as copywriters, web developers, graphic designers, and the thousands of consumer support workers supporting brands. Businesses have been applying these people, for several decades, to offer support on demand. Between the methodologies they put in place and the technology they utilize, businesses who are daunted by gig employees can instruct the new generation of distant workers something or two about.

The following is business advice from the front line of the gig. Managing customer expectations is essential in times of disruption, and individuals understand that there are a few reductions in service out of their control. But will naturally see less effect on their bottom line. Adaptability and willingness are key. By this time, their workforce has moved to work due to forced or self-isolation, and this also includes customer care. On the other hand, the way we think about customer care, as well as needs to modify.

Firstly, communicate to your clients on the way support is being redesigned by you, so their expectations are being handled at all times. Secondly, it’s vital to be certain that your customer care staff are prioritizing their workload and deprioritizing. Look to your technology to be certain support tickets are being ordered according to those priority levels. If you’ve got a platform set up, can it be accessed by your workers securely, and from home? If your workforce has reduced capacity because of illness, and will you provide support? This might be a time to contemplate moving entirely to support through chat or messaging, providing 24-7 assistance that is digital through gig workers.

This may be obtained compared to telephone support with long wait times. During periods of isolation, some businesses may experience. Ramping up client support capacity and receiving the ideal technology in place is a company operation improvement. Engagement skills are essential: they need to feel close to the companies they support to succeed, although Many gig employees may never satisfy with their managers. Providing all the tools and support to them and coaching they need to do their jobs is critical.

Personalizing the participation is crucial, don’t just send long one-way memos, build out a means for them to engage in conversation in a manner that is scalable. Do you have the ability and a knowledge base to add and answer frequently asked questions? This could be made available via collaboration applications. It’ll be a basis of making sure a majority-remote workforce feels connected, rather than a loose group of workers. Managers in the gig economy know they will need to stay workers incentivized to retain them.

This is often done via gamification, which rewards, or involves producing status amounts to promote development. Gamification can be used in media sharing worker engagement platforms, and programs. These programs may be utilized to amplify messages of how you are encouraging your employees and customers. It’s critical that brands are seen to do the right thing and those that do that will weather the storm. One of the most difficult parts of managing a gig workforce is currently making workers feel valued.

I believed that the best way to produce workers feel valued is to attach them. For instance, there are gig client support platforms, which allow the client to give feedback. This”thank you” has got an amazing impact and spurs gig workers on to keep on providing excellent service. By placing technology and measures in place, businesses may discover that they adapt well to having a remote work force and that working becomes a part of a new operational model especially customer service. With the gig customer service economy booming, there are loads of great examples to go by, and as we browse uncertain times to improve how we work, communicate with each other and serve our clients.

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Tidal ETF – SoFi Gig Economy ETF (GIGE) gains 0.41% to Close at $37.71 on October 21

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Tidal ETF Trust – SoFi Gig Economy ETF (NASDAQ: GIGE) shares gained 0.41%, or $0.1528 per share, to close Thursday at $37.71. After opening the day at $37.36, shares of Tidal ETF – SoFi Gig Economy ETF fluctuated between $37.81 and $37.24. 5,487 shares traded hands an increase from their 30 day average of 3,522. Thursday’s activity brought Tidal ETF – SoFi Gig Economy ETF’s market cap to $32,056,900.





Visit Tidal ETF Trust – SoFi Gig Economy ETF’s profile for more information.



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Breaking the Supply Chain Bottleneck



Since the start of the global pandemic, historically low interest rates and government spending have inhibited saving and encouraged borrowing and spending to lift the economy during the challenging period. The US Federal Reserve and government have pumped far more liquidity into the financial system than during the 2008 global financial crisis. We have seen an increase in inflationary pressures because of the stimulus. Moreover, the pandemic’s unintended consequences have created shortages and supply chain bottlenecks that have only exacerbated rising prices.



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Walgreens Investing Additional $5.2 Billion in Primary Care Provider VillageMD



Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (Nasdaq: WBA) will invest $5.2 billion in primary care provider VillageMD as part of the pharmacy chain’s plan to open more co-located practices within its drugstores across the US.



The investment announced Thursday increases the Deerfield, Illinois-based chain’s stake in VillageMD to 63% from the 30% it acquired in July 2020. 



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Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer — Part I



Revenge represents an amazing human activity. In business, kicking opponents when they are down comes with the territory. As Huawei struggles with US government sanctions, Xiaomi steps in to introduce competing products and grab market share. Former Communists learn quickly about the free market economy. No employee at Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) asks the giant to go easy on Myspace. Remember Myspace? No Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) executive lends a helping hand to Motorola, which is even harder to remember. This new series looks at a few savory examples of business payback.



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About The Nasdaq Stock Market





The Nasdaq Stock Market is a global leader in trading data and services, and equities and options listing. Nasdaq is the world’s leading exchange for options volume and is home to the five largest US companies – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook.



To get more information on Tidal ETF Trust – SoFi Gig Economy ETF and to follow the company’s latest updates, you can visit the company’s profile page here: Tidal ETF Trust – SoFi Gig Economy ETF’s Profile. For more news on the financial markets be sure to visit Equities News. Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the Daily Fix to receive the best stories to your inbox 5 days a week.



Sources: Chart is provided by TradingView based on 15-minute-delayed prices. All other data is provided by IEX Cloud as of 8:05 pm ET on the day of publication.

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Moves wants to reward gig workers with shares in Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub – TechCrunch

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Moves, a Toronto-based gig economy fintech startup, wants to reward gig workers with stocks from the companies for which they drive. The first version of the Moves Collective, as the startup’s new service is called, launches on Thursday with Uber stocks available and then quickly offer Lyft, DoorDash and Grubhub shares, says CEO of Moves, Matt Spoke.

Moves’s thesis is this: If gig workers become shareholders, they might feel more economic alignment to the platforms they work for. Furthermore, if enough workers own stocks in these companies through the Moves Collective, they might be able to form a voting bloc in the future and actually influence company decisions. Moves says it already owns a “significant and growing stake” in these companies, all of which are common shares with voting rights.

Over the past year, poor working conditions for gig economy workers have led to worker protests and attempts by states like California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York to reclassify gig workers as employees, worthy of all the basic rights that status affords, such as health care, vacation pay and paid sick leave. Companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart have fought back against the ongoing debacle in California over Prop 22 and have formed a coalition in Massachusetts to get a proposal on the November 2022 ballot that would classify gig workers as independent contractors.

“Gig workers contribute a huge amount of value to the gig economy, but they don’t get any of the economic returns as a result of the value they’re contributing, and that’s what we’re trying to solve for is effectively making them feel like they have an economic stake in the success of the companies that they work for,” Matt Spoke, CEO of Moves, told TechCrunch.

Workers who are already a part of the Moves platform – which enables gig workers to track and manage their money from different companies, have access to a monthly spending account and instant business cash advances up to $1,000 – are eligible to sign up for the Collective and receive rewards in the form of stocks. Moves will give workers a series of “tasks” to complete, like refer three friends or participate in a user survey, in order to receive free stocks, or fractions of stocks, which then go into the user’s own brokerage account that Moves has opened for them.

In the long run, the Moves Collective, aptly named, is meant to bring gig workers together and leverage the power in numbers to create a voice that can be used in corporate governance decisions. Moves would propose proxy material submissions at annual general shareholder meetings of the major platforms in order to ensure the interests of gig workers are heard, says Spoke.

Moves’s primary business relies on interchange rates that it is accumulated every time a gig worker uses their Moves card to make a purchase, and it’s that revenue which funds the shares Moves gives back to the workers.

“We’re effectively trading off revenue to acquire new customers and hold on to them, if you want to think of it that way,” said Spoke. “So the revenues we earn off the use of your checking account are being put back into the product to finance these rewards that are effectively denominated in stocks.”

At the moment, the program is invite-only and shares are accumulated via a partnership with Bumped Financial, a stock rewards program. Spoke says Moves will also keep an eye out for Instacart’s IPO to purchase stock for its platform, and is even considering supporting Amazon stock for Flex delivery people or Target stock for Shipt workers. 

All of the app-based gig economy companies “suffer from the same problem,” says Spoke, “which is a massively high percentage of driver and worker churn rates. Their workers just don’t stick around. They either leave to go to another gig app or they leave the gig economy altogether. So these companies are spending tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars replacing workers all the time.”

(See: Uber spends $250 million to incentivize drivers back to the app, which then results in crushing Q2 losses.)

Before their IPOs Uber and Lyft considered issuing stock to drivers as a mechanism to increase retention and create worker loyalty, but there are different regulatory issues that got in the way of a sincere effort on the companies’ parts. In the end, the two companies decided to reward some more active drivers with a one-time cash award that gave them the option to buy stock. Uber, for example, set aside 5.4 million shares, which was 3% of total shares, of its common stock for drivers, but said it would offer those to the public if drivers didn’t scoop them up.

For reference, former Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, who owned 8.6% of Uber at the time of public filing, made about $5 billion on his stake, and Alphabet, which owned 5.2% of the company, took home around $3.2 billion. U.S.-based drivers at the time had the option of using cash bonuses which could be used to purchase up to $10,000 worth of company stock.

Companies that rely on the gig economy do have a harder regulatory time giving out stock options to workers. SEC Rule 701 allows companies to issue stock to employees, consultants and advisors as compensation without having to submit detailed financial records, but gig companies don’t fit neatly into that current exemption. In 2018, the SEC called for comment on possible ways to expand the rule to adjust to the changing nature of work relationships. Uber responded, albeit past the deadline, but with a request that the SEC revise the rule in order to allow “partners to share in the growth of the company which could lead to enhanced earning and saving opportunities for the partner and for the generations ahead.”

As the laws currently stand, if Uber or Lyft were so inclined to incentivize drivers themselves with stocks, it would encroach dangerously on employer territory. However, the company’s past stance signals it might makes sense to one day outsource this kind of service.

“Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart have come together on topics like Prop 22, they’re lobbying together against new regulations, and so I don’t think it’s inconceivable that they would see this as being generally positive for the industry,” said Spoke. “Eventually I think we’re going to end up wanting to find some way to share the economics with them. Fast forward a year or two years, I definitely see us talking to Uber about the tangible benefits that we are able to demonstrate and say, ‘A driver that was issued Uber stock is X% more likely to stick around longer, so you should be partially participating in funding this.’”

Moves says it currently has about 10,000 users on its platform across all 50 states. The company was founded in February 2020, right before ride-hailing took a massive pandemic-sized dip, and has been in the markets since April 2021. The plan is to begin fundraising again in the first half of next year, but Spoke said Moves doesn’t want to do that until it refines the unit economics in the narrative of the business and creates a use case for Moves Collective.

“It’s not that Uber doesn’t care about their drivers but that their drivers are not their primary stakeholder,” said Spoke. “Their primary stakeholder is their consumer. They do everything they can to innovate value for the consumer side of their markets, and often the workers are sort of an afterthought.”

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Gender and gig work: Perspectives from domestic work in India

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Platforms have the potential to be instrumental in protecting workers rights, but the current platform design is not optimised to protect workers’ interests especially those of women in the gig economy, argues Ambika Tandon, a senior researcher at the Centre for Internet and Society in India and an author of the report on ‘Platforms, Power and Politics: Perspectives from Domestic and Care Work in India’.

Digital labour platforms, broadly defined as digital interfaces that enable the exchange of goods or services, have grown exponentially in cities across the world. In sectors such as transportation and delivery, Uber and similar platforms have achieved dominant status, while in other sectors platforms are still making inroads to transform consumption patterns. Researchers at India’s Centre for Internet and Society, sought to understand the impact platforms have had on the paid domestic and care work sector in India, given its importance for women workers. The workforce in this sector is largely constituted of women from Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi (or caste-oppressed) and low-income groups, with a long history of socioeconomic and legal devaluation and lack of recognition. In this context, platforms have positioned themselves as intermediaries that will improve wages and conditions of work, pushing the sector towards formalisation.

To assess the impact of digital platforms on processes of recruitment and placement and on organisation and conditions of work, we undertook 60 in-depth interviews between June and November 2019. We chose two metropolitan cities, New Delhi in north India and Bengaluru in south India, as our field sites. These are key nodes in the migration corridors of domestic workers in the country. We spoke to workers who were searching for hourly or regular work through platforms, representatives of platform companies and state and central governments, as well as domestic workers unions. We found that platform design breeds and amplifies exclusion and discrimination along the lines of gender and caste, among other social characteristics.

Illustration by Shruti Lal

Uber for domestic work

We found that the function of digital platforms in the sector is contingent on the historical organisation of domestic work, rather than any fundamental re-organisation of the supply chain. Unlike in the global North, platforms in India have thus far been unable to ‘gig-ify’, that is, break up most tasks that constitute domestic work – including child and elderly care and cooking – into short-term granular services that have been standardised. Domestic workers continue to find regular term full-time placements through marketplace platforms, which only connect employers to workers with no other role in determining work conditions. HelpersNearMe and Helper4u are examples of platforms that play this role by listing profiles of workers and making these available to employers. These placements are no different from work in the ‘offline’ sector, with complete informality and very little standardisation around hours, wages, and task constitution. As compared to this, on-demand platforms that offer short-term gigs (similar to the Uber model) have grown exponentially in the ‘deep’ cleaning segment by marketing it as a professional service with higher value than ‘regular’ cleaning services.

The function of digital platforms in the sector is contingent on the historical organisation of domestic work, rather than any fundamental re-organisation of the supply chain.

Cleaning gigs provided by on-demand companies have higher hourly wages than ‘regular’ cleaning services in the traditional sector. But accessing these opportunities requires workers to have regular access to a smartphone throughout the day, to be able to accept or reject tasks and receive payments through a mobile application or web-portal. Women workers from low income families have very low levels of digital access, with most phones being shared between families and controlled by male members. Also, the use of technical equipment such as vacuum cleaners and chemicals has led to deep cleaning being viewed as a masculine task. As a result, almost all cleaning workers we identified in the on-demand sector were men, even though cleaning is a feminised job role in the traditional economy. Some cleaning workers we spoke to did not identify as domestic workers at all, but rather viewed their work as holding a higher status than traditional cleaning. This trend of masculinisation of a job role coinciding with higher wages and social status has also been seen in other sectors globally, such as software programming.

Illustration by Shruti Lal

Promises and risks of low-tech platforms

One of the reasons that women workers are more likely to find work through marketplace platforms rather than on-demand agencies is because they only require workers to have a basic or feature phone for one-time registration, and subsequently to answer calls from potential employers or the platform. Most platforms in this category do not intervene in task allocation or terms of work, which are negotiated directly between workers and employers. Algorithms and digital interfaces then only facilitate matching, as opposed to on-demand work where all aspects of the job are determined by the platform. This allows women workers to register using shared family phones, or those of their friends, neighbours, and in the case of one of our respondents, her landlady’s phone number. These platforms then may be able to provide placement opportunities to workers who are unable to find work through word-of-mouth networks. This is especially crucial as a result of the unemployment crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unlike with the on-demand model, these platforms do not offer increased wages or provide better conditions of work.

Although marketplace platforms provide an additional route into finding opportunities in the sector, they also codify employers’ biases through their design. All marketplace platforms and digital placement agencies we reviewed – upwards of 20 companies – provide demographic filters to employers for filtering workers’ profiles. These include information on workers’ gender, age, religion, state of origin, and in one case, even caste. While practices of employing workers based on demographic characteristics are rampant in the sector historically, platforms build them in by design and market them as a key feature of what they are able to offer employers. These open up direct avenues for employers to discriminate against workers from minority religions and oppressed castes. It also reinforces gendered occupational segregation, as employers seek out women workers for feminised roles such as cleaning and care work, and men for tasks such as gardening and plumbing.

Power structures endemic to the domestic work sector continue to thrive in the platform economy, as do gender and caste-based occupational segregation.

Platforms have been making claims of formalising the informal sector, especially in global South economies, through increasing efficiency in matching workers to employers. Despite having the potential to be instrumental in protecting workers rights, currently platform design is not optimised to protect workers’ interests. Power structures endemic to the domestic work sector continue to thrive in the platform economy, as do gender and caste-based occupational segregation. To be able to nudge the sector towards formalisation, platforms need to directly intervene in power structures and co-design with workers, rather than merely functioning as digital recruiters. This could imply adopting practices such as removing demographic details where not relevant, introducing written contracts and minimum wage floors for placements, and addressing gender gaps in some segments of the digital economy.

This work forms part of a project on ‘Platforms, Power and Politics: Perspectives from Domestic and Care Work in India’, supported by the Association for Progressive Communications. You can read more about the project here, and find the full project report here.  

This article gives the views of the author and does not represent the position of the Media@LSE blog, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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