Support Services to Help Decouple the Worker from the Work Arrangement
As the world of work continues to evolve, more and more people are turning to flexible work arrangements for greater control over their careers and their personal lives. Upwork recently reported career ownership as a top draw for 68% of new freelancers, followed by the ability to work remotely at 54%. Yet another study suggests that 24% of workers in the gig economy in the US are uninsured. Fifty-eight percent of that group cited prohibitive costs as the reason for opting out of purchasing coverage.
The rising popularity of remote work has created a conundrum for organizations trying to manage the cost of benefits for contemporary workers. In response to this problem, People2.0 is excited to announce the launch of its new portable benefits package for independent contractors.
The contemporary workers who comprise the flexible workforce deserve affordable access to one of life’s essentials: reliable and affordable health insurance. With portable benefits, contemporary workers can now enjoy the gift of a FlexLife®.
We recently sat down with Andrew Fahey, our Global Chief Marketing Officer, to unpack his thoughts on the changes. Andrew brings over two decades of experience running a UK-based organization that supported the contemporary workforce in Europe across tens of thousands of professionals who chose the path of independent, flexible work.
Q: What is the contemporary workforce and why is it growing so quickly?
A: We think of the contemporary workforce as the group of all employable workers. This is made up of professionals who are full-time employees, who are self-employed, who contract, or who may be out of work temporarily but are actively seeking employment. The demand for flexible work is growing, especially from those contemporary workers who freelance, contract, or take on temporary, project-based work. Many gravitate to flexible work because it gives them greater control over their schedule, the freedom to work from virtually any location, the ability to decide which projects to work on, the independence to choose which organizations to work with, and the opportunity to increase their earning potentials.
Q: Where does People2.0 fit into all of this?
A: At People2.0, our AOR and EOR services help organizations navigate the complexities of the flexible workforce. We offer a range of services, including worker classification, payroll, and benefits to help organizations stay compliant. And now, through our recent merger with the Brookson Group, we are beginning the global rollout to provide benefits and support services to independent contractors and workers to help them successfully navigate their journey as contemporary workers. By addressing the needs of the independent contractor (IC), we serve the entire workforce ecosystem. We care for and support the independent professionals, the organizations who connect talent supply to demand, and ultimately the end clients who benefit from the skills, expertise, and contributions from independent workers to support their holistic talent strategies.
Q: Now for the hard question: What are the downsides to flexible work?
A: In most cases, the pros of being an independent worker outweigh the cons. However, managing the administrative, tax, legal, regulatory, financial, and insurance burdens of being an IC can be overwhelming and hard to navigate.
We believe that one of the biggest disadvantages to flexible work is the fear of missing out on health benefits, financial support, and protections as traditional employees. We want to relieve that burden and alleviate worry by providing uninterrupted, global access to portable health plans, retirement benefits, and other support services that travel with the worker, regardless of their assignment and who they are working for in the future.
Q: Becoming an independent worker is a big transition, and it sounds like there’s some risk involved. Why is it worth all the trouble?
A: The world of work is changing across the globe. The media is saturated with stats and research about the sharp rise in people planning to change jobs and even careers within the next year. This global shift in worker attitude is accelerating because workers want to have more of a say in the way they work.
While there are certainly risks involved, the benefits of flexible work can be significant. With more control over their schedules and careers, workers can achieve a better work-life balance and have more time to pursue their passions and interests. We want to help elevate a job into a lifestyle. And with People2.0’s partnership with Mercer Indigo, we can now offer independent workers in the US a portable benefits program that helps mitigate the downsides of becoming an independent contractor. They will have access to customizable healthcare insurance plans that offer comprehensive coverage at a variety of costs through a platform that minimizes the time it takes to search for affordable health insurance plans.
Q: Organizations rely on People2.0’s AOR services to support the IC from start to finish—from validating their classification to assisting with ongoing compliance through the life of their assignment. Will you tell me a little more about what you do to care for these independent contractors?
A: At People2.0, worker care is our top priority. Our clients trust us to be an extension of their brand and to support the independent contractors with an engaged and hands-on approach. That’s why we provide an exceptional, white glove contractor experience from day one. We match each individual IC with a dedicated, named People2.0 care specialist who regularly follows up throughout the assignment.
With our new portable benefits package, independent contractors can customize and choose insurance plans that include health, dental, telehealth, critical illness, and vision options from more than 200 insurance providers in the US. And when the assignment is done, they can take those benefits with them, regardless of the organization they work for in the future. The benefits truly are portable!
At People2.0, we understand the unique challenges facing the contemporary workforce, and we know that consistent access to affordable healthcare is a top-of-mind concern for many. With the launch of this program and other support services in 2023, we’re breaking down barriers so that great talent can succeed in the new world of independent work.
At People2.0, worker care is our top priority.
Q: Talent retention, talent sustainability, talent shortages are topics we’re all familiar with. They’re what keeps sourcing, procurement and talent leaders up at night. With that in mind, what else is on the horizon for People2.0?
A: One of the most common questions our clients ask is, how do you care for your contractors? Most organizations understand that caring for employees is what attracts and helps retain great talent. Extending that employment brand and that same level of care and attention toward independent contractors is key in achieving talent sustainability. Our clients expect it, and our contractors want and need additional solutions that support their business and their personal viability. Offering healthcare benefits to these workers is just the beginning.
People2.0 will be making more services available in 2023 by creating an infrastructure where workers can move seamlessly between workplaces and geographies without interruptions in life essentials. To support and address other needs that come with being part of the independent workforce, we’ll be providing access to a broad range of financial, administrative, health, wealth, support services, and other business essentials. Our aim is to decouple the worker from the work arrangement by ultimately offering an array of support services which stay with the worker as they switch workplaces and locations. We want to help elevate a job into a lifestyle, without borders or barriers. Our goal is to liberate, enable, and provide freedom to workers through FlexLife.
Q: What would you say to readers about this new portable benefits program? Do you have any final words for them?
A: I’d say that whether you’re a worker looking for greater control over your career and personal life or an organization looking to navigate the complexities of the flexible workforce, People2.0 can help. This is a great opportunity for organizations and workers alike to take control of their futures and create a pathway towards a FlexLife.