Better Caregiving in the Gig Economy?

4 minute read

What is Caretaking in the Gig Economy?

A lot of smart people are thinking about how “work” is changing. New forms of work are emerging: the gig economy, the sharing economy, the freelancer economy, and the on-demand economy.  35% of the U.S. workforce is already doing some form of ‘gig’ or ‘on-demand’ work; that’s 55 million people, with 1.3 million new ‘gig workers’ each year.

You may have already participated in this economy by using eBay or Uber. It is changing our culture, and has had obvious success so far as people are finding more affordable and convenient services, and those doing the service gain fulfilling forms of "flexible" work.  While there is such thing as “good flexibility” in working conditions, there is a lot of “bad flexibility”, which according to the Sloan Center, can drive down wages and quality of work. The media is full of stories about workers in the sharing economy who are victim to changing pay rates or “flexibility” entirely tied unpredictable demand.  Richard Adams, a Detroit Uber driver, lives under the threat of a company that suddenly cut fare rates were cut by 30%, and wishes that the drivers could actually depend less on Uber, and more so on themselves.2

However, the gig economy is not Uber.  Platforms like Uber allow us to quickly form workers and groups of customers – but the technology does not determine the way these people work together, the people do.  The doctors, nurses, business leaders and professors working on CarePRN are trying to bring a model of work that is unique and allows there to be flexibility and job creation in the healthcare market,  by allowing caretakers to book a ‘gig’ , and have caregivers work as many gigs as possible to make a living.

This also applies to health care services like According to Hinchliffe, “Caregivers constitute one of the largest segments of the gig economy and the fastest growing large job category in our country,” 4. This economy allows users to either “self-employ” or “sell their goods/services just to make money,” 3.The big benefit is being able to choose their own work hours depending on when they are available.

Government, lawyers, and labor groups have been trying to find ways to make the gig economy more fair. They emphasize the rise of on-demand services and apps and say they should raise the wage earned by people providing the service.

The gig economy is still under development, but that does not mean people are working on improving it. According to Taylor, a study showed that online labor platforms increased during 2016 by 103% however this rate leveled off because 1 and 6 participants quit trying to make money through online labor within a year or so1. According to Dodds, the EU has made laws for these platforms to say that the users are actual employees and should be treated fairly like any other employee of a company3. Whether or not anything like this is in the works here, there are some good examples of on-demand services by companies that do seem to be promoting better forms of "flexible" work. Most of these shared economy employees are usually people who do not have a full-time job anymore. In other words, they may have lost their jobs during the recession time. The jobs in the sharing economy do help these people in making a good profit of money, but also working on their own time. This flexibility can help them make time for their family or even go back to school for another degree. What I have just mentioned is called a “good flexibility,” but there is also such thing as a “bad flexibility.” According to Workplace Flexibility, the bad flexibility affects the employer by deciding if the “costs or inconveniences associated with implementing flexible work arrangements that outweigh the benefits.” This website also mentions that “employees perceive that taking advantage of available flexible work options may have negative consequences in terms of their position within the organization,” 5. Not only is flexibility and job creation a huge benefit, but also building a stronger community through these employees and employers.

With all these companies in this type of economy, most entrepreneurs look for ways to help with the community they are living in. Some of these companies help to improve home-care for others. We at CarePRN are tuned in to the challenges for caregiving, and health care more generally, in the gig economy, and strive to make it a caring economy.

How is CarePRN is Affordable for care-seekers?

Unlike many other home-care services, CarePRN can help you with the financial aspect of hiring help. There are no long term contracts, and you pay by the hour as you need it. Having no-contracts is cost effective because of the amount of money you need to spend per hour. CarePRN is a company that will not only benefit consumers but also the workforce. With no contract, you also receive professional care within minutes in the Metro-Detroit area. Also the flexibility for care seekers can involve a traditional schedule or on-demand appointment.

How exactly can you be sure that that CarePRN is more affordable and worth your money? Well there is research that shows all of the existing home-care services and a comparison of what each company does/does not have. In a nutshell, the research showed that other health care services did not provide an option for no contracts and on-demand care. This research was conducted by Jason Wolfe-Greer, RN, the founder of CarePRN. Such competitors are, craigslist, traditional home healthcare, and other key players in the health care sharing economy.

CarePRN’s mission: Flexible and Fair

CarePRN has its roots in Detroit, and is proud to serve the people of the Metro-Detroit area. CarePRN has improved other gig economy  models of caregiving. Homehero may have certified nurses and background checks, but what they do not have are the on-demand care and the no-contract caregiving services. These features are key because having on-demand care is a necessity. CarePRN allows you to make an on-call without pre-scheduling for the following week because you do not know exactly when you will feel the caregiver burnout. Taking care of a loved one for a long time can burn you out, and you will need someone to step in for a while.

Nurses, nursing assistants, and nursing students will earn more through CarePRN. Nursing assistants earn on average $9-$13 per hour. CarePRN will be paying them $15 per hour. CarePRN will be making only $10 out of the $25 hourly fee. These care providers will benefit from better pay and their ability to better schedule and work contingent hours in a local area. We expect that CarePRN will allow care providers to supplement their regular work hours by working in the best model of the sharing economy we could create.