For full-time employees of large businesses, workplace benefits may seem just a customary addition to any job description. However, currently, just 10% of the global workforce receive access to any kind of workplace wellbeing programmes. This means that presently, a vast 2.9 billion workers exist under-supported and unable to access any kind of workplace wellbeing resource¹.
Traditionally, these kinds of programmes have been reserved only for those working traditional, full-time roles in large organisations. However, with more than a third (35%) of businesses reporting increasing numbers of existing permanent staff asking to move to temporary or contract positions², demand for flexibility is on the up and the way we look at temporary worker wellbeing is about to have to change.
Despite this growing demand however, the majority of workplace wellbeing programmes still remain unaffordable, inaccessible and non-engaging for these workers – so what exactly can be done to prioritise the needs of this non-traditional working community?
Could Technology Be the Answer?
While the traditional employment model may not readily accommodate contract workers just yet, emerging technologies hold promise in offering flexibility and therefore bridging this gap. They can also help to foster cultures of support and wellbeing for this group. Businesses looking to utilise technology to support a growingly diverse workforce may look at engaging with…
Digital Communities: Online groups tailored to the needs of contract workers can serve as virtual hubs for networking, skill-building, and accessing resources. These platforms can offer forums for peer support, expert advice on navigating contracts and finances, and educational content on topics ranging from mental health management to work-life integration. Creating a presence within these engaging online communities can allow a business to stay up to date with community news, but also signpost that they are ready to listen to and support their contract employees.
Contemporary Benefits Providers: Although as mentioned, most employee benefits packages remain inaccessible and unaffordable for contract workers, new technology has meant that emerging players within the employee benefits space are now making it possible to put support packages in place for diverse teams.
AI Support Systems: ‘AI’ may seem to be somewhat of a buzzword at the moment, however this is not without reason. Directing contract workers to AI-powered chatbots can provide immediate assistance for common queries regarding contracts, invoicing, or legal rights, offering a sense of support and guidance in real-time.
As the gig economy continues to expand, businesses must recognise that this should not mean that workplace wellbeing can be increasingly ignored. Managers and HR professionals should look to explore new technologies to develop solutions that empower individuals to thrive in their chosen contract type. Whether this be through showing support within online communities, exploring new benefits platforms or implementing AI.
Ultimately, with the future of work, comes the future of wellbeing, and we look forward to seeing how these landscapes develop.
¹ Global Wellness Institute, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID, December 2021.
² Sonovate, The Future World of Work Report 2023, 2023.
About the author:
In 2018, Stella Smith launched fintech start-up pirkx, revolutionising the UK’s employee benefits sector with affordable and inclusive wellbeing packages for all workers. Prior to pirkx, Stella had an extensive career in private banking at C. Hoare & Co., Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets, and HBOS. Transitioning from banking in 2008, she embarked on several smaller projects, including a building firm, night club and massage firm and held multiple CIO roles from 2010 to 2019. Stella then transitioned to pirkx’s full-time CEO whilst maintaining board memberships in Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights UK, Cascade Cash Management, and The Awen Project.
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