It’s no secret that gig workers can save your company money. You can save money by hiring contracted workers to tackle jobs in place of traditional employees.
To attract and retain talented workers, however, employers have to set themselves apart. That’s just as true in the gig economy as it is of the wider labor market.
A fundamental way to do that is through benefits. But while regulations or costs may prevent you from providing things like paid health insurance to gig workers, you can still offer many perks. Show gig workers you appreciate them with:
1. Paid gym membership
Isolation is one of the biggest challenges of the gig economy, according to Nu Skin. Because gigs tend to be self-guided, many workers struggle to maintain those connections that make work fun.
Community is one of the critical advantages of a gym. Gym goers get to spend time around people who are trying to take care of themselves, which is uplifting and encourages healthy habits.
If you can’t afford to get a gym membership for every gig worker, consider inviting them to use your on-site gym. If you go this route, make sure to get contractors badges that indicate they have access to your facilities. Encourage regular employees to get to know the new faces in the weight room.
2. Surprise gifts
Sometimes, the best work perks are the ones you don’t expect. Although saying “thank you” is always a good idea, hammer your appreciation home with a gift.
What should you give? Gifting expert John Ruhlin recommends practical luxuries. Good options include:
- A monogrammed coffee mug
- A quality knife set
- A double-walled thermos
- A pair of noise-canceling headphones
- An autographed book
- A unique set of wine glasses
To maximize their impact, try to give gifts when workers least expect them. Everyone gets gifts around Christmas. Why not send them something special for a job well done or a life milestone, such as their son’s graduation?
3. Daycare services
With a flexible schedule, it can be difficult for gig workers to make arrangements for babysitters. To make things easier for working parents, offer an on-site daycare service. This benefit can enable them to pick up more quick jobs and tackle them without worrying about their kids.
If you’re unable to afford on-site daycare services, look in your area for an accredited daycare center nearby. You might be able to negotiate a bulk deal. Alternatively, you could provide workers with a daycare stipend, allowing them to select their sitter and service hours.
4. Food and drink stipend
Whatever your jobs your company needs to be done, gig workers will get hungry and thirsty doing them. Why not give them something to sip or munch on while they work?
Although you could send drinks and snacks to their address, not everyone likes the same things. Plus, coordinating shipping from dozens of different vendors to dozens of different homes is a headache.
Instead, send out gift cards. Giving gig workers money to spend at a local coffee shop, for example, can help them get started earlier. If you have an on-site vendor, offering coffee credits to gig workers may be more cost-effective.
Think, too, about helping gig workers relax at the end of a long day. Could you help out a local bar by gifting drink tokens to your contractors? Encouraging employees to join them for a happy hour could be a great way to extend your office culture to gig workers.
5. Access to your campus
Gig workers have projects beyond those they do for your company. A practically free benefit they might appreciate is access to your facilities.
Think about it: Without a quiet space at home, everything from doing your taxes to reading your favorite book can be tough. Group meetings call for conference spaces, and not everyone has a printer and a fax machine at home.
Like the gym membership, this benefit also has a social component: Getting face-time with other members of the team can be a reward. Plus, gig workers will appreciate the networking opportunities. Members of your team may be able to steer them toward other work online or with local businesses.
What if you’re worried about security risks? Also, like a gym membership, the solution is badges. If you trust your gig workers enough to tackle jobs for your company, you should also trust them enough to be on campus. Ask everyone to promptly report people on campus who don’t have a badge.
6. Invitations to company events
Even with campus access, gig workers may feel like they’re not a part of your company. Because many of them take contracts from multiple companies, they might feel like floaters without a real identity. For better or worse, American workers’ identities center around their job title.
Don’t expect every gig worker to be at every event your company puts on, but do invite them. Prime opportunities include:
Feeding a few more months at a company-wide picnic is a negligible expense. And if you hold it at a park, there’s no need to worry about occupancy limits.
The more, the merrier, right? Although it isn’t a bad idea to give company gifts, a white elephant can keep costs down while helping everyone get to know one another.
Everyone likes a good board game. Ask everyone to bring their competitive spirit and a favorite game. Perhaps your company can provide snacks and drinks.
Do you reserve a local theme park once a year so employees’ families can enjoy it without the crowds? Invite your contractors along for the ride. Add food and drink stipend to make the experience even more memorable.
If you don’t know what your gig workers would appreciate, the solution is simple: Talk to them. Find out what would improve their lives and crunch the numbers. Anyway, you can afford to show your appreciation is a sound investment not just in them, but also in your business.