COVID-19 Staffing Resources for Businesses and their Workers

by Jenay Sellers

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth many challenges for nearly every type of business. Some are benefitting, experiencing surging demands for their products or services as a result of demand increasing for a particular industry while others have been left struggling to pick up the pieces, especially if they were deemed nonessential and forced to close their doors for an unwanted period of time.

As the economy desperately tries to recover, one of its core components, the American workforce, has also shifted dramatically. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate at the end of May was at 13.3 percent. An overwhelming number of Americans have found themselves out of work as a direct result of the global pandemic.

One related portion of the nation’s economy, the gig economy, has been experiencing increased levels of interest as displaced workers look for alternative ways to make ends meet. For business owners who have never considered utilizing a contingent workforce as part of their staffing strategy, there’s no better time than now to reconsider.

The Benefits of Utilizing Temporary Labor

Almost every organization in every industry can come up with one or more ways to utilize temporary labor. From outsourcing repetitive tasks to identifying one or two positions that could be handled by 1099-workers, there’s almost always a situation where hiring temporary workers is more beneficial.

Here are just a few of the pros of leveraging this type of worker:

Quickly scale: COVID-19 is anything but predictable. Many experts say this virus will flare up again in the fall. Hiring temporary workers gives business owners an extra layer of flexibility. They can quickly grow and shrink their workforce without the additional burdens that accompany doing this with W-2 employees. In addition, businesses severely affected by high turnover rates or employee absenteeism can access available labor to quickly backfill open shifts.

Try before committing: Businesses that were not deemed essential may be struggling to recoup their former staff as they reopen. Those team members may have found alternative employment, making them no longer available. Hiring is complicated. Open roles can take many weeks or months to fill. Temporary workers can be utilized in one of two ways: to help bridge the gap as a more permanent employee is sourced, or on a trial-by-hire basis. For the latter, businesses that leverage this model often feel more confident in their hiring decisions because they’ve actually evaluated a worker to understand whether or not that worker is a good fit for the open role.

Access highly skilled or specialized expertise: Highly trained individuals can be hired on a short-term or project basis to solve very specific problems or complete very specific tasks. Businesses that utilize resources in this way don’t have to pull full-time employees away from their regular duties, making their entire operation more effective.

Reduce overhead: Depending on the labor source, temporary workers are accompanied by solutions to handle their hiring process and payroll. Businesses that can fully adopt this type of hiring model can outsource rudimentary processes like sorting through job applications, running payroll and offering benefits, saving them thousands of dollars annually.

A Solution to Get Ahead

There are many ways for interested business owners to test out whether or not temporary labor makes sense for them. One solution, the GigSmart Get Workers app, gives business requesters instant access to a pre-vetted pool of more than 180,000 U.S. workers. Available across 3,000 skills, these workers can be hired on the fly with no contractual obligation.

In addition to providing a quick and easy way to access an agile labor pool, GigSmart has launched a COVID-19 Unemployment Resource Center full of state-specific information to help anyone negatively impacted by COVID-19 access important information as it pertains to filing for unemployment, signing up for healthcare benefits or accessing other financial aid. Business owners who had to make the difficult decision to reduce staff can share the Arizona-specific resource page with affected workers by clicking here.

As the nation continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses owners are sure to be faced with a challenging and uncertain landscape. As applicable, a well-rounded team will consist of W-2 employees, outsourced third-party vendors and temporary workers. Businesses comprised of this model will find themselves in a position to outlast their competition (or another unfortunate COVID-19 outbreak).

Jenay Sellers is with GigSmart, an alternative staffing agency built for the gig economy.

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