Today, the gig economy is thriving and many people are choosing to earn extra money by delivering food, goods and packages for popular gig economy apps. These workers love earning extra cash, but there have been examples in the news of incidents that can make them feel anxious and somewhat unsafe. How would they discreetly signal for help? What if they were in an unfamiliar neighborhood? What if someone was lurking around the delivery van? When an anxious moment turns into an actual emergency it’s already too late.
Every gig economy and lone worker carries a connected device with them. They rely exclusively on the app built to efficiently deliver goods, food, and people to the appropriate locations. Wouldn’t it be great if every app or device employees carried while on the job included advanced safety features? RapidSOS partners with innovative tech companies to deliver safety features that enable back and forth communication with monitoring agents and lone workers via voice, text, or quiet listening when anxious moments occur. If the moment turns into an emergency this direct connection can deliver a faster, more effective emergency response.
The gig economy is growing, and some might call it the new backbone of our digital, on-demand society. Powered by apps, at least 16% of Americans have earned money from an online gig platform, per Pew Research’s State of Gig Work report. Think of Uber, Instacart and TaskRabbit. Each of these popular services are powered by fellow citizens who use the apps to earn wages. With minimal onboarding and high flexibility, these jobs provide a source of income to at least 9% of the population. To put this in perspective, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are more gig workers than people employed in the entire information sector and IT services combined.
Driving for a ride-hailing app, delivering groceries, walking dogs and even doing laundry for others are all platform-based gig work. The report showed nearly 31% of current or recent gig workers use it as their main job, whereas 68% consider it a side job. For 23% of gig platform workers, the job is essential for meeting their basic needs.
And although there are upsides to gig work, like flexibility and earning extra cash to save for special events, there can be moments that can make an individual feel nervous. Gig workers are inviting unknown people into their cars, entering homes to walk dogs, and making deliveries during times that may feel unsafe.
Here are some best practices adopted by some of the world’s largest gig economy delivery app companies. These innovative practices can set an app or service apart, and keep both workers and customers safe.
Enable workers to signal when an anxious moment is happening
Most of the media focus in the past years has been on customer safety, which is of course highly important. But what isn’t discussed as much is the safety of the gig workers themselves. How can these workers, who are scattered all throughout the country and interacting with different people in an unscheduled manner, have a sense of safety?
RapidSOS, a first-of-its-kind technology, supports lone workers with a connection to white-glove 24/7 monitoring and emergency services when they feel anxious but the situation hasn’t quite met the threshold for 911. Key capabilities from RapidSOS connect gig workers to live agent chat, discreet listening, and timeout panic features. Let’s say you have a driver working for a delivery app who has a customer in the car that is beginning to make them uncomfortable. They can quietly connect to live monitoring agents to listen in, or text with the driver if possible.
Keeping tabs on the safety of gig workers 24/7
Since gig workers typically work on their own and not as part of a team, they don’t have team members watching out for them to ensure they made it to their next stop safely. If something happens to them, or they anticipate something happening, these workers need a virtual team to have their back.
Every gig worker should feel like a team is watching out for their safety, that’s why RapidSOS delivers features like a timeout notification. Here’s how it works: the gig worker can set a timer within the application for when they should be back to their vehicle, when the timer expires an automatic verification is sent to the worker to confirm if they are safe. If the signal is missed a monitoring agent will intervene and notify emergency services.
Gig worker needs may differ across business types, however delivering a connection to safety features will pay dividends and differentiate your company. Consider implementing key features across categories like emergencies, accidents, harassment, and anxious moments.
Easily connect to emergency services
Driving for a rideshare service or making deliveries – while interacting with a mobile device for directions, connecting to passenger location, or trying to make a delivery within the allotted time frame – are all situations that can increase the risk of an accident.
RapidSOS is an emergency response data platform that links connected devices, sensors and apps directly to first responders. Rather than dialing 911 and trying to provide critical information to a dispatcher whilst dealing with an emergency, RapidSOS can immediately deliver life-saving data directly to a 911 center. This contextual information can be digitally linked from devices, sensors, or apps directly to more than 5,300 nationwide 911 centers, allowing for a faster and more effective response.
The number of gig workers and gig economy apps is growing at a rapid rate. Companies have the opportunity, maybe the obligation, to keep their gig workforce safe by enabling a direct connection to 911 or monitoring services. Blockbuster companies like Instacart and Uber are already partnering with RapidSOS and have recognized that by increasing the safety and resources of their gig workforce, they’re providing a better experience for everyone and good will in the communities in which they operate.
Set your app apart from competitors and give gig workers peace of mind, by enabling a connection to public safety through the RapidSOS emergency response platform and monitoring solution. You’ll retain your best talent and, most importantly, keep your people safe.