Contingent Work on the Web | DCR Workforce Blog

Contingent Work on the Web

Contingent work is all about flexibility and we regularly hear about more and more people choosing it against regular work hours. There is another aspect to contingent work where it has extended its wings beyond regular offices and happens in the cloud! Yes, that is right. As commuting times stretch unendingly and traffic snarls make people wish for magic carpets of yore or personalized futuristic flying modes; companies are trying to outsource piecemeal work to individuals who have the capability to provide certain services from anywhere in the World using the virtual platform provided by the World Wide Web aka the Internet. Have you ever followed up on any of those ubiquitous notices on job boards as well as professional networks like LinkedIn about the huge earning potential offered by work-from-home jobs? If not, you may enjoy reading this post.

This arrangement works well for certain categories of work starting from basic data entry work and accounting all the way to web design and complex software coding. So, people get hired, sight unseen and claims unverified, and many times, this happens without any face-to-face interaction or interview. These opportunities necessarily carry risks of credibility with them for both sides and make it difficult for people to operate without an intermediary in the middle. Companies cannot allow someone to experiment on their project with imperfect or misrepresented skills while people would be devastated if cheated of payments due, after they have successfully completed an assignment with sincerity and commitment. Either way, this is not a relationship that can flourish without an intermediary, much like exports requiring verification, bank guarantees and other supportive functionaries to create an atmosphere of trust and comfort.

The fraudulent ones have web sites which sound extremely trustworthy and promising, holding out the promise of a fortune at the end of a rainbow but require a (small, really small) payment up front for some tool or service which has been painstakingly devised for the job seekers’ use. Their efforts always remind me of another successful story of entrepreneurial effort where people were asked to pay $1 for genuine and infallible advice to become millionaires instantly! The answer came by return post: Start a scheme like this!

The genuine intermediaries also devise a lot of ways to ensure that their intermediation assures access to genuine jobs and assured payments leading to satisfied customers on both sides. They seek to recover their investment through a commission charged on the transaction on percentage basis. Qualifications get vetted and abilities vouchsafed for and certified through reviews posted online. Many have skill tests online to verify the standard of the worker, and allow creative workers to upload their portfolios to the site. The job seeker need not necessarily be an individual. Companies may also bid for work through these sites. Payment may be made on a project basis or hourly basis. Where the payment gets made on hourly basis, the contractor logs in online and gets tracked on the hours spent – and paid by the hour. The employer gets to manage the worker through access to screen shots (randomly taken) and key strokes and mouse activity.

Companies who seek such workers are attracted by the affordability it offers, the flexibility to use someone they can find easily and quickly and can trust with a small and possibly one time job which needs just a few hours for completion. Many of the reputed companies in the space have active contract workers across the World and post cumulative billings running into millions USD. These sites allow the contractors to bid free on projects to a certain limit (like 10 a month) after which they charge.

What is regrettable is the way the number of fake and fraudulent offers in this space far outweighs the number of genuine ones – creating an atmosphere of total mistrust for the uninitiated.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.