Gig Work Expands Across Industries

Gig Work Expands Across Industries – and UCC Technology Is a Rockstar

4 min read

July 11, 2023

Freelance work isn’t new, but recently it hit the main stage as more workers and businesses embrace the gig economy. A whopping 36% of employed Americans identified as independent workers in 2022 – up from 27% in 2016.

The term “gig” has roots in the 1920s, when jazz musicians used it to describe their performances. To this day, musicians still say they make a living from gig to gig as they plug instruments into amplifiers and step up to perform.

They aren’t the only ones: hotel staff, government workers, educators, and even physicians are taking advantage of the flexibility and freedom that gig work offers.

Across industries, businesses are realizing value as well. With the gig economy in full swing, they can scale their workforces to meet high demand or control costs when times are tough. It also allows them to bring in specialized expertise when needed.

Beyond the 9-to-5 Workforce

The traditional idea of a “workplace” is officially upended. Many full-time employees no longer show up in person every day. Hybrid workers split their time between home and the company’s office locations, while remote workers are fully virtual from home. Others are location-independent: digital nomads who’ve designed their careers around the desire to travel.

This change seems to have staying power. Since the pandemic, Americans are increasingly prioritizing life over work, and in doing so, they’re rethinking how and when they make a living or pursue a career. For many, the gig economy is especially appealing because it gives them more control.

travel nurse in car

Gigs: What a Way to Make a Living

The freelance mindset isn’t limited to just ride-share drivers or session drummers. Workers across industries from healthcare to education and government are taking another look at the advantages of gig work.


One of the hallmarks of the new economy is the appearance of gig workers in places you don’t expect, like hospitals. Nurses have been sourced through agencies for quite some time. Contract work offers them more flex time and the ability to move from location to location.

But what about doctors?

It may seem shocking, but more physicians are embracing the gig economy. As community hospitals face a labor shortage, they increasingly turn to “physicians-for-hire.” At the same time, more doctors are looking for a better work-life balance and the ability to focus more time on patient care. In 2022, 4.9% of physicians on LinkedIn listed contract roles on their profiles, up from 3.7% in 2020.


Hotel and restaurant operations have long depended upon contract workers, from bartenders to front desk staff. This approach allows managers to add hotel staff, kitchen workers, and drivers as business swells over holidays, then scale back as demand softens.

Scheduling has become more challenging in the wake of the pandemic. Many laid-off workers have migrated to other careers, and today, hospitality has the highest quit rate of any industry. Now, hospitality leaders hope to fill the gap with gig workers. But customer experience is everything in this business, so managers must hire enough people to maintain high service levels.


The pandemic also kicked off a teacher shortage, and administrators struggle to fully staff their schools with rock-star educators. As of February 2023, there were nearly 150,000 more job openings than hires. One way to close this gap is to hire substitute teachers – another traditional type of gig worker. However, these workers are also in short supply, with 20% of requests for substitutes going unfulfilled.


We don’t often consider contract workers’ significant role in making government services available to the public. Yet, gig work is pervasive across federal and local agencies. Public agencies are the biggest employers of contract workers who fill temporary and seasonal positions in parks, schools, and offices. Gig workers play crucial roles as electoral workers and are essential for long-term research work.

Financial Services

These institutions face two issues in the gig economy. First, they need to contract IT workers to help with software development as they ramp up new applications to enhance the customer experience. At the same time, these same applications are essential to meeting the financial needs of the growing number of gig workers across every industry. As this part of the workforce grows, financial institutions have a lucrative opportunity to build services that meet gig workers' consumer and employment needs.

female gig worker

Rockstar Tech: Unified Communications and Collaboration

Organizations that want to thrive in this new way of working and attract top talent need the right technologies to connect and empower gig workers.

Collaborate in Harmony

Perhaps more than in any other industry, healthcare staff need constant communication. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small rural hospital or a sprawling urban healthcare system; staying connected is – quite literally – vital. Full-time and gig workers need real-time, secure access to patient information and hospital systems. Healthcare communications solutions that streamline workflows make it easy for remote nurses and contract physicians to stay connected and deliver quality care from their mobile devices. With a better employee experience, they’ll feel less burnt out – and will be eager to return to your facility.

On the Road with Mobile Communications

Like their guests, hotel staff are always on the move. And whether they’re on the top floor or another property, they must be reachable. Mobile solutions allow hotels to deliver exceptional guest experiences while also streamlining operations. For gig workers to collaborate effectively, communications should be integrated with existing hospitality apps. A single communications and collaboration application allows gig workers to access everything they need without missing a beat.

Plug-and-play Flexibility

School administrators and their IT teams are constantly under pressure to keep costs down, but substitute teachers need the same access to communications and collaboration tools as permanent staff. Flexible, dependable solutions that integrate with existing applications like Google Workspace are necessary for any campus or district. The solution should also be subscription-based, so adding and removing substitute teachers doesn’t have to bust your budget. Choose solutions that support BYOD to make it easy for gig workers to get rocking – and make them more likely to return to your school when needed.

Cost Efficiency

Like other industries, public sector entities face tremendous pressure to stay within budget and deliver a fast ROI on systems. Yet, communications solutions must be powerful enough to collaborate across departmental teams. Cost-effective integrations with existing systems and flexible deployment options will help you control your budget while securely supporting your gig workforce.

Innovate and Adapt to a New Beat

The gig economy is about flexibility, speed, and ease of use. That’s what today’s workers want in every gig and what they want in a bank. With a solution built specifically for financial services, you can engage with customers on their preferred channels and seamlessly move between them. Your gig employees benefit, too: they’re empowered with real-time client information and tools that help them improve performance, such as interaction recording and workforce management.

Contact us to learn how Mitel can help your organization become a rock star in the gig economy – no matter what industry you’re in.

Categories: Industries

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