In the second part of our series run in partnership with Field Service News, we explore the pros and cons of the gig economy for field service companies.
The field service sector is one that uses a blended workforce, utilising both internal and 3rd party labour, and this is set to become a common theme in the development of field service teams across the next few years. However, there is one aspect of the discussion that has been consistently overlooked. Generally, conversations around the gig economy have centred on the millennial generation or Generation Z. However, in field service, the gig economy sits just as comfortably, if not more so, with the older generation. That includes engineers approaching semi-retirement, more mature professionals looking for a more settled lifestyle with less time on the road, and ex-military professionals.
In the second part of our series run in partnership with Field Service News, we explore the pros and cons of the gig economy.
Utilising the gig economy
By tapping into a third-party market of service engineers who already possess the required skill sets, and leveraging technologies such as IoT, knowledge banks and Augmented Reality (AR) to ‘dial-in’ the job-specific expertise when needed, field service companies can tap into a contingent labour pool that meets around 80% of their daily repair and maintenance tasks. The ability to tap into a casual workforce with a baseline skill-set capable of handling such day-to-day tasks can be crucial to free up the necessary internal resources to handle the more complex, off schedule repair calls.
Blending your workforce and embracing gig workers has plenty of benefits:
Skill diversity: Many companies benefit from widening their engineers’ skill sets to develop and establish new service offerings.
Flexibility to scale with seasonal or variable demand: organisations that face significant swings in demand across varying seasons, like those in the HVAC sector, can scale up or down quickly with contingent labour.
Business efficiency: By using contingent labour to ‘fill gaps’ in a service schedule, organisations can retain efficient service delivery and maximise core workforce utilisation.
Geographical coverage: 3rd-party labour markets can offer service organisations the ability to enter into new territories without the traditional excessive overlay.
Customer satisfaction: A contingent labour force can enable service organisations to react and remedy issues in a timelier manner, particularly in peak seasons when the internal workforce is stretched thin.
It is, however, important to be aware that there are still potential problems that could arise by using gig workers. With customer expectations higher than ever, there is no room for error. Every service delivered, whether from a permanent or contracted gig worker, needs to be excellent. You need to ensure that you treat your gig workers as if they are your permanent employees. That means equipping them with the right tools and training so they can replicate the services of your internal team, making sure that the day of service is awesome for each and every customer.
Although there are some challenges with incorporating gig workers, it’s worth looking at the benefits. With the ever-growing demand from customers, gig workers are the key to plugging the gap without causing too much impact on overall business margins. Find out more about how gig workers can benefit the field services sector in our latest report here.