The pain of the gig economy
While the flexibility of remote gig work may be initially appealing, poor quality working conditions may impact workers’ well-being. A University of Oxford suggests that gig economy autonomy can often come at the price of long, irregular and anti-social hours.
Dr Alex Wood, co-author of the research, says that while gig work takes place around the world, employers tend to be from high-income Western economies, exacerbating the problem for workers in lower-income countries who have to compensate for time differences.
Researchers also point to the fact that competition on online labour platforms such as Freelancer.com and Fiverr is mediated by algorithms and rating systems.
“The competitive nature of online labour platforms leads to high-intensity work, requiring workers to complete as many gigs as possible as quickly as they can and meet the demands of multiple clients no matter how unreasonable,” says Wood.
Over half of workers taking part in the study said they must work at very high speeds, and 22% report pain as a result of their work.