Written by SJ Phua on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)
What will be the future of all the office spaces!
What is a traditional economy?
A traditional economy is a business whereby company’s employ people on a full-time basis to carry out task stated out by the company. The pros are there is a structured career path in the company and they are well paid in terms of salary and benefits such as leave, insurance and trainings. The cons are usually the company is not flexible in certain decisions such as – work hours are fixed at 9-6pm and they incur high operating cost such as manpower, office, and insurance.
Technology have brought about changes in life as well as the economy we know today. Gig economy start to trend recently especially with the booming of technology app companies such as Grab, Uber, Airbnb etc. These companies employ people on a part-time/contract/freelancing basis to complete a task stated out by the company. The pros typically are the flexibility of time, allowing the hired people to work within their own time management. The cons are they typically not cover under company insurance or have leave entitled to them as compare to a regular full-time staff.
Examples of a Gig economy
Impact of Covid-19 in Singapore
Since Covid-19 striked, a lot of business had to fold or change the way they work such as working-from-home, food delivery service for F&B. Traditional business that need to have office space or retail/F&B that rent space from commercial and non-commercial building in Singapore are hit the hardest during the lock-down and post lock-down period. Some businesses just simply couldn’t survive and hence retrenchment was on a rise during the period. So, we can see a shift in workforce that joined the Gig economy such as the grab food delivery service which allows people to earn money with flexible timing and arrangement. Even Taxi operators were hit during the period as travel restrictions were imposed and hence taxi driver’s lost a mainstream of income from visitors. Luckily, they were being deployed for short term role of chauffeuring covid-19 patients from point A to point B. Airlines were grounded during this period and SIA stewardesses were being deployed to hospitals as care ambassador during the crisis period to help out with lack of manpower in hospitals. Some who were out of job turned to entrepreneurship such as home-based business or hawkerpreneur to tide themselves over the period. Full-time workers who are still employed under companies have to adopt new ways and technology to do business such as hold virtual meetings over Zoom, doing tele-conferencing and working from home.
Examples of working from home tech jobs
With the covid-19 situation under control at this point of time, businesses are slowly recovering. The question now is, would the Gig economy workers go back to a traditional model or does the traditional model break into new territory of Gig? Imagine, employees choosing to work on a hybrid mode of work from home and hot-desking anywhere instead of going to office, does it help the company to save on rental/ ownership of a building? What will happen if companies do not need an office space anymore? What is the future of commercial buildings like? Do drivers/ delivery workers of grab go back to being white-collar workers and hence create a gap in supply demand in the grab app?
I look forward to the future of the working landscape as to how technology will shape up both the Gig and traditional economy.