In a time of uncertainty and unpredictability in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many offices and other public areas are closing. Social isolation is becoming an ever common occurrence, especially for the vulnerable in our society. In come the unsung heroes: the gig economy responders. From getting in groceries to driving people from point A to B and even taking care of children for care workers. Traipsing the aisles of grocery stores across most countries, trying to get the last of the coveted canned goods. Getting the public safely home avoiding contamination. Taking care of the children of doctors, nurses and other professionals who are doing everything in their power to help those affected by COVID-19. Serving all their needs and powering through, no matter the costs to them. Armed with hand sanitizer and masks, they venture into the supermarkets and gather groceries.
This service is used by many who work tireless hours and some who simply do not have the flexibility to stay home with their children or go food shopping, but the majority now are using these services out of fear of the virus and being in the social sphere or because they do not have the luxury of working from home.
Recently, upon conversation with an elderly woman in Newmarket (UK), the topic of how vulnerable people will manage came up. As she is confined to her home, this is a topic that is constantly on her mind.
She said “We are going to be obliged to them. Imagine you are a little old lady living alone with no family and little contacts outside. If you won’t be allowed to go out, how else do you manage without someone to deliver? Old people get lonely easily and cannot run around like the rest of the population- so we will be evermore dependent on these services during this period of uncertainty.”
These workers are taking on responsibilities for those who are in need. It has even been reported that in some countries, discussions with Uber and Deliveroo have begun to try and find a way to take food to the vulnerable who have been forced into isolation. This means even governments are aware of the importance of gig workers in this time of need.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has put a new meaning on the Iron Man Economy: with each worker taking on the role of a superhero. So, when you next order food, take a car or book childcare services, make sure to praise the unsung heroes for all their work during this time of need: give them the recognition they deserve. The gig economy, throughout this time has remained a constant: help these workers maintain that continuity.