30 Jun, 2015 By Wayne Wang

In an article for BuzzFeed, tech writer Caroline O’ Donovan explores the world of a new breed of workers: those that rely on on-demand applications such as TaskRabbit, Uber, Postmates, and Instacart. These apps allow workers to set their own hourly rates for different tasks, which range from installing appliances and moving furniture to pranking executives. They work collaboratively, using a group message thread to ask for or offer help with work on hand.

Observing a community of on-demand workers in San Francisco, O’Donovan observes:

“And all, perhaps crucially, are of the age (22 to 34) and family structure (single and childless) that enables them to take on this kind of precarious employment model.”

While this arrangement allows on-demand workers to support themselves as they pursue other interests and work on a flexible schedule, O’Donovan muses:

“… it becomes easy to wonder if they don’t also embody something more sinister than all the glitter might indicate: An unsustainable, shortsighted work model that sacrifices decent pay for the promise of ‘flexibility,’ facilitated by the so-called ‘on-demand economy’ and perpetuated by the tech industry’s insistence that the nine-to-five grind (plus the stability and benefits that come with it) is a thing of the past.”

However, don’t be distracted by what seems to be a bohemian, free-spirited enterprise:

“By meticulously guarding their high ratings and swapping tips around pricing, they’ve been able to steadily increase their hourly rates since they started tasking.”

Fees range from $50 an hour for tasks such as household chores to as much as $3,000 for specialized jobs such as wedding photography. By working as a group, they get a sense for what a fair price is and talk shop about skills, which could then lead to more jobs, better ratings, tips, and higher wages.

Expounding on the joys of the growing on-demand economy, one worker says:

“There’s unlimited work. You can work as much as you want, save as much as you want. You can literally like rent your car on GetAround when you’re not doing jobs, make money that way.”

One need not be an on-demand worker full time; there are a lot of opportunities to earn on your free time and still enjoy the benefits of a stable job. If you’re a Sydney resident who owns a car, bike, motorbike, van, or even an Opal Card, you could sign up and be a Runner on Go People, a mobile app which offers 24/7 courier services within Sydney. You can even download the app, start bidding for courier jobs, and get paid as soon as the job has been completed and confirmed today!

The reality is, the oncoming sharing economy is here to stay and it works very well for some people. As we continue to see new apps and gadgets appear like smartwatches, it’s a wonder to consider what the future might hold.

Does the idea of working on demand appeal to you? Share your thoughts on the comments section below!

Read the original article here: www.buzzfeed.com/carolineodonovan/meet-the-on-demand-workers-who-say-theyre-living-the-sharing#.stqKDER4A