For ththousands of people who were laid off during the pandemic, rejoining the work force can come with a lot of uncertainty. Despite a quarter of the U.S. population being fully vaccinated, concerns about safety are preventing some job seekers from looking for a new job or returning to their pre-pandemic employer 

In spite of this, last week unemployment fell to the lowest level it’s been during the pandemic, meaning more and more people are getting back to work. Yet businesses across the country, particularly in the hospitality industry, are struggling to fill shifts. Experts believe that this hiring stall is caused by a few things: 

  • Continued fears about contracting the coronavirus are preventing people from getting back to work. 
  • Unemployment insurance is helping take the place of a paycheck. 
  • Tax returns and stimulus payments are providing a sense of financial stability. 

These reasons are all understandable explanations of why some employees are feeling hesitant. Unfortunately, for most it’s not realistic to rely on unemployment insurance and other payments as a means of long-term income if you have the ability to work. Eventually these payments will either stop or run out but by that point, finding a job may be challenging. Not only that, but there may be further ramifications of a hiring shortage, such as business closures or the introduction of “automated” staff to take the place of human staff. If this trend continues, what can we expect for the future of work? 

If you’re someone that feels reluctant about going back to work, you may consider finding an opportunity that can quell some of your concerns, which may include: 

  • Cleanliness of the work place 
  • Whether safety requirements are enforced 
  • How many people they’ll be working/interacting with 
  • Whether you can continue to collect unemployment 

Fortunately, there are employment options available that allow you to return to work at your own pace while making money and growing on your work experience. Two words: gig economy.  

Over the past several years “gig economy” has started to become a household name. Defined as a labor market that features predominantly short-term or freelance opportunities, millions of workers turn to this option because of its flexibility and versatility. It’s estimated that by 2023, “more than half (52%) of the US workforce will either be gig economy workers or have worked independently at some point in their career,” with over 41 million people already engaging in independent work. (Via MBO PartnersBelow, we’ll look at the advantages of working in the gig economy and how it can benefit those who are hesitant to return to the job market.  

Control your own schedule 

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons people join the gig economy is because of the flexibility. Typically workers can choose when they work, where they work, and how often. Meaning if you want to slowly get back into work, you can choose to only work once a week. Not only that, but you can decide where you work – so if you have concerns about being around too many people, you can choose to pick up shifts in a less crowded environment.  

Continue to collect unemployment  

If you’re working part-time, you may still be eligible to collect unemployment benefits depending how much money you make. This is a great option for people who aren’t necessarily ready or able to work full-time and need the benefits, but also want to start reentering the work force.  

Become more employable 

Many employees believe that they’re more employable by working in the gig economy because they can learn new skills and work in different industries or positions. You may even find out that you’re interested in a career that you hadn’t considered before.  

At LGC, we’ve been providing workers with short- and long-term employment opportunities since 2003. Our workers enjoy the above benefits of the gig economy, plus the other things LGC can offer like great customer service and a mobile app used to browse and claim shifts.  

It’s no secret how tough the last year has been. And it’s understandable how difficult it is to start ‘returning to normal’ with all we’ve been through. But by joining the gig economy, you can start to dip your feet back into the job pool, continue collecting unemployment if need be, and expand on your skills. LGC is always looking for hardworking candidates so when you’re ready to get back to work, let us know.