Gray Thompson is part of a growing group known as “gig” workers. He is registered with a staffing agency that provides enterprises with janitorial, maintenance and other services. The agency uses a scheduling app that lets Gray see his schedule for several weeks out. That lets him make plans to get to his kids’ after-school events. Ella plays soccer in the summer and takes tap classes in the winter. Ethan plays just about everything, so there’s some game to get to all year long. Because Gray’s wife Leia is a nurse and can’t always make it to games due to scheduling conflicts, it’s especially important to him to be at as many as possible.
A Friday in May
The phone alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. Gray gets up first so he can get ready, take the dog for a quick trot around the block, and get the kids to school by 7:30. Leia worked late at the hospital. She’s still breathing evenly in deep sleep. Lucky Leia. As the kids finish up the oatmeal (generously sprinkled with walnuts and craisins) he whipped up, Gray checks his schedule again in the Gig Exchange app on his phone. He has to be at a convention center before 8:00 to get a large space ready for weekend occupancy. The gig goes until 11:30. He has a 30 minute lunch break and then heads to a newly constructed bank building to do pre-move-in cleanup. That gig runs from 12:30 to 3:30. Right now, he has nothing else on the schedule. On the one hand, he’s glad, because Ethan’s baseball team has a game at 7:00 this evening and he doesn’t want to miss it this week. On the other, he could really use the income another gig would bring. He checks the app for listings of jobs that have come in but are not assigned to anyone. There is one that starts at 5:00 and ends at 9:00. Geeze. It sure would be nice to take that, but he just can’t. Ethan would be so disappointed if neither mom nor dad showed up tonight and Leia has to work late hours again. Gray closes the app and ushers the kids into the car for the ride to school.
At 7:30 a.m. – i.e., 30 minutes before his first gig – Gig Exchange automatically kicks into action and starts geo-monitoring Gray as he drives toward the client’s facility. It does so to ensure he and all other agency workers are on the way to scheduled clients and are not running into any serious traffic jams that would prevent their arriving on time. Supervisors in the agency office can view traffic conditions on the Gig Exchange dashboard. The system will alert them if conditions arise that will cause workers to be late. It will also automatically alert the client and the worker on the way to the client. Sometimes traffic is so bad that the agency has to find a different worker who can get to the client faster taking a different route. Gray lost a job last month because of an overturned truck trailer that had him sitting on the highway for two hours with no chance of exiting. Today, it’s smooth sailing and he pulls in at 7:55. Dave, his co-worker for today’s gigs, is already waiting.
Gray and Dave manage to stay on schedule and are on the road again by 11:37. They grab a sandwich and stop at a park for a breather and a quick meal. They’re about to head to their next gig when they both get a notification from Gig Exchange. A client located 15 minutes from the one they’re about to serve called in a last minute request for assistance from two workers this afternoon. The gig is from 4:00 to 6:00. Gray decides immediately to take it. He can run home afterwards to shower and change and still get to Ethan’s game on time. Dave is less excited about the prospect because he has dinner plans with his girlfriend at 6:30. A bit of badgering from Gray, however, cajoles him into pushing dinner to 7:00, and anyway, a few extra bucks are welcome in his wallet too. They complete the job in the allotted time and head homeward. The app automatically stops geo-tracking them at 6:00 since their workday is over.
It is now 10:30 p.m. Gray can’t really sleep until Leia gets home, so he lies in bed scrolling through his schedule for next week. Ella has a soccer game on Tuesday at 5:00 but he’s scheduled to work a gig by himself from 3:00 to 5:00. Hmmm… Would someone swap hours with him? He sends out a request to other workers registered with the agency. Only those with similar skill sets who aren’t already scheduled for that time frame receive his request. No one responds before Leia comes home and he falls asleep but in the morning, he does get a ping from a guy who is willing to swap if he’ll take a shift on Wednesday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. It means he’ll miss Ethan’s game that evening, but Leia has off and can do the cheering instead. He accepts. His schedule updates automatically. For the coming week, it looks like all is well. He has plenty of gigs scheduled and if something should come up, he can always use the Gig Exchange app to change his schedule. Awesome app. Awesome life.