Drivers, couriers, cleaners and handymen are now at your beck and call thanks to a host of apps. But what’s it like to earn your living waiting for someone else to press a button?
It’s the simplicity that is so seductive. Thanks to apps such as Uber or Handy, in a few clicks you can be whisked home by a private driver, to a spotlessly cleaned flat, where your favourite meal is brought to your door. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Deliveroo, the company that delivers restaurant food to your door, is expecting to hit revenues of £130m this year. While every week in London alone, 30,000 people download Uber and book a car for the first time, the firm now valued at $62.5bn.
Supporters argue that this “on demand” economy offers those who choose to work for them the independence and flexibility to fit their work to their lifestyle, or supplement their income from another job. Uber’s UK chief, Jo Bertram, points out: “Over two-thirds of new people signing up to drive with Uber have been referred by an existing partner-driver because they love the freedom and flexibility.” While Deliveroo say they have more than 3,000 riders in the UK – a number that is rising weekly.
But maybe it’s not as simple as it seems: strikes and class actions by workers in the on-demand economy, along with government restrictions, seem to be popping up as quickly as new apps. So what is it really like working in the on-demand world? We asked four people about their experience. Read more…