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Published date: 2020/08

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Co-Founder of PRS, Richard Snarey, discusses why on-demand talent apps are not only a natural progression for today’s gig economy but can also deliver COVID-security for businesses and workers.  

In 2019, Uber announced it was to continue diversifying beyond ride-hailing with the launch of a new app that matched people with temporary work. Providing the rationale behind the app, Uber stated that “a new technology-first approach can provide faster and easier means for people to get work while offering greater insight into the many opportunities for work that are out there - improving the experience for workers and businesses alike.” 

Despite news circulating in March that Uber Works was going to be shuttered as a result of cost-cutting measures at Uber, the use of technology to connect on-demand talent with businesses is more vital now than ever before, and is being adopted in a wide range of industries at a rapid rate. 

A changing landscape 

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked two major concerns when it comes to engaging and managing contingent workers: 

1. A continuously changing market that requires instant access to talent that can be flexed up and down in line with demand.  

2. The tracking and management of temporary workers to ensure their safety during the pandemic. 

Could workforce management technology that provides instant access to on-demand talent also deliver the solution to these issues? 

Technology in action

During the COVID-19 lockdown, PRS announced we’d teamed up with workforce management platform, Sirenum, which aims to make the deployment of contingent workers efficient, reliable and, above all, safe. 

Currently used by 500,000 workers daily across Europe and recently adopted by parts of the NHS, Sirenum leverages mobile and the cloud to streamline the management of part-time, temporary, and hourly workers. After conducting rigorous testing with our clients, who used the app as a scheduling tool for their temporary workers, we uncovered some additional and unexpected benefits that help businesses navigate uncertain market conditions. 


A fundamental problem for a lot of companies is a reliance on paper-based processes for the management of their contingent workforce. Research from Deloitte revealed around 5 million UK mobile workers have to double up on work, filling out paper forms and then transferring to a digital format when back in the office. Such an approach typically relies on temp workers to manually log availability, complete timesheets, request holidays and collect payslips, leading to a high-touch process and, therefore, a greater risk of exposure to the virus.

Many companies have found the answer to these problems in the form of mobile workforce management solutions, which are helping to keep workers safe during this time. Apps like Sirenum enables workers to log their availability, accept shifts, view upcoming work, record attendance, receive notifications, request holidays and view pay information, with zero in-person contact required. Furthermore, with the movements of the worker tracked through the app, businesses can more easily and effectively complete track and trace protocols. 

Access & flexibility 

These apps also give businesses the ability to gain rapid access to talent, exactly when they need it. Such technology means an end-client or staffing agency can track the nearest worker and send them straight to where they’re needed, meaning they could effectively be there in a matter of minutes. 

Additionally, the workday can be seamlessly split across multiple clients within one timeframe using the app’s geo-location tools. For example, they could spend two hours on site A with one client, followed by two hours on site B with another client in the same area. Accessing talent based on proximity also means much faster response times, cutting down on unnecessary travelling and any costs associated with this. 

The real ‘new normal’ 

We know that the global workforce has shifted away from permanence towards more short-term, temporary positions or ‘gigs’. Such a movement goes hand-in-hand with our mobile and smartphone-savvy workforce. So, while Uber Works may not have made it over the pond, apps like Sirenum are set to dominate the market, providing businesses with rapid access to talent, and connecting workers with a range of opportunities they may not have previously had access to.