It’s hard to believe we’ve now lived almost a full year in the pandemic. Since March I’ve written articles about ways to adjust business strategy, how to adapt to the changing times, utilizing technology to stay successful, and more. When I wrote my first article related to the pandemic back in March, I never thought almost a year later the pandemic would still be as present as it is in our lives today.

What’s changed though in the past 10 months, are the opportunities the pandemic brought to the staffing industry. A lot has changed since March and companies adapted to this change. We’ve seen major increases and decreases in industry demand. We’ve also seen a significant increase in working at home, among many other changes. Now, we are beginning to see some of the long-term effects these industry changes have brought to the workforce. The rise of temporary help and flexible jobs for the foreseeable future is among these changes.

Cause of Increase in Temporary Jobs

There are several reasons experts predict there will be a rise in contract jobs going forward. In general, the staffing industry has seen that temporary jobs have recovered faster than direct hire jobs.

COVID-19 has actually added a lot of the jobs to the temporary workforce, such as temperature remote opportunities checkers and contact tracers. Currently there is a major demand for jobs assisting with the vaccine rollout, which could be a great opportunity for staffing companies if you’re able to get the trained staff that is needed.

Besides the addition of COVID-19 jobs, the pandemic has caused an increase in demand for contract work in other areas. Some companies are still treading water and are cautious about bringing employees back on full-time. Contract workers are less of an investment, which is better in times of uncertainty and as companies are getting back on their feet. The job is still able to get done without the added expense of benefit packages and other costs associated with a new full-time hire.

More workers have also turned to do freelance work as it helped bring in income for jobs that were lost during the pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Upwork between June and July of 2020, 36% of the American workforce had freelanced in the previous 12 months. 12% started freelancing during the pandemic (54% out of necessity) and 75% in search of financial stability. Of those that were surveyed, 88% said they are likely to freelance in the future.

In general, workers are also looking for a flexible work environment. More people have an interest in doing a variety of work and are looking to be able to control their schedule. According to a recent Monster survey, 92% of respondents said they think now is a good time to look into a gig economy. 57% of respondents also said they would take a gig job in-between jobs and 52% said they would like a long-term contract with flexible hours.

All of these reasons are the cause for the increase in demand for temp help. Whether it is the demand for COVID-19 jobs or the way the pandemic has caused the workforce and employers to shift the way they are used to doing things. In the process, we’ve adapted to these changes and it has brought on new opportunities for both workers and employers.

Cause of Increase in Remote Work

As we all know and have probably experienced it at one point or another, there has been an increase in remote work. I personally never worked remotely fulltime, until March hit. Now I’ve been working remotely for the past 10 months and it has truly become the new normal. When I think back to the days, we all went into the office, it seems like so long ago now. Workers and employers are beginning to feel this same way, if they aren’t already feeling it. Remote work has become a new normal and it is here to stay in some capacity.

From an employer stand-point, companies have seen that working from home can work. They’ve seen employees still able to complete their tasks and, in some cases, have seen an increase in productivity. Operating costs have also probably gone down as they are spending less money with employees working remotely (no more cafĂ© snacks, employee lunches, etc.) With this, employers will be thinking about incorporating more work at home opportunities in the future and/or eliminating an office all together. According to a survey performed by Verizon, 86% of global companies believe the digital workplace will coexist with the physical workspace post COVID-19 and 78% expect to increase remote working.