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One-day, on-demand jobs on the rise

Paying jobs allow people to work different places every day

You wake up. Where do you feel like working? Maybe one type of business today and another tomorrow? Sure. Why not?

The same gig economy that brought us Uber drivers and on-demand handymen and house cleaners is now expanding into so-called traditional workplaces, allowing workers to design their professional life one day -- or one shift -- at a time.

It works for Leversey Henry. When he gets ready for work, he turns to his phone. 

He uses an on-demand staffing app to look for available shifts in his area -- but not in just one industry, and not just driving or delivery.

“I’ve done warehouse, some product marketing, as well as event coordination,” Henry said.

Henry answered questions on the app regarding qualifications and background ahead of time. Then, whenever a gig pops up, it’s his for the taking. Living shift by shift has become a lifestyle.

“I actually use it as my primary source of income,” he said.

He’s already completed hundreds of jobs and said, in the last year alone, he has made tens of thousands of dollars.

There are several on-demand apps offering gigs in industries that used to solely offer so-called traditional jobs, areas such as retail and restaurants.

One survey predicts there will be more than 7.5 million on-demand workers by the year 2020 -- more than double the 2015 numbers.

A.J. Brustein, co-founder of Wonolo, the app Henry uses, said the employer-employee dynamic is shifting.

“I think, for too long, companies have had all of the control and haven’t listened to what the workers really need. But we see with a new generation and a new set of needs from the workers, today, we see flexibility is becoming the No. 1 thing people are looking for, and the gig economy is, ya know, allowing that to happen,” Brustein said.

Henry said he likes the flexibility, control over when he works, for whom and the variety of opportunities, “and then, you know, the quick turnaround in terms of how you get paid.”

Sometimes, you get paid the same day.

There can be some challenges, though, with a shift-based lifestyle.

“I would say, if you’re looking for any sorts of things to watch out for as a worker, one of them, I would say, is probably just stability or reliability,” Brustein said.

He said that you have to be more active in your job search if you want daily work although, he said, work is typically available on established apps.

Some online forums are slamming shift work, saying the trend is taking away from regular jobs.

Brustein doesn’t buy it.

“We’re finding that traditional employers will use gig workers to try people out. So, we often find that, rather than spending a bunch of time on going through resumes or looking through job boards, they’ll just bring people in and see how they perform and if they do a good job, offer them a permanent position,” he said.

Brustein said some workers can obtain benefits through his app. He said that, while millennials are his biggest group of users, empty nesters are also perfect for the gig economy because they may look overqualified on a resume but can prove themselves once they get in the door.