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How to Protect Your Health and Money as a Gig Worker

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020 by Daniella

I can’t believe I am writing this.

I want to hope this post becomes irrelevant in a month or so but who knows what could happen. This isn’t the first time something has ever happened like this and it certainly won’t be the last so if anything during this time, we must learn from it.

Thinking of virus-related emergency plans wasn’t a part of our daily lives here in the U.S. a couple of months ago unless you’re a doomsday prepper. Now it is.

What’s been going on globally has completely flipped most of our worlds upside down. Even for those of you cracking jokes, like this meme I found on Facebook:

Facebook Meme

Poor bartenders. They are not amused.

It’s understandable if you are a little stressed right now. I’m not going to tell you not to panic. Feel what you feel, feel the feeling, let the feeling pass and make a plan.

You are not alone in this. What is going on right now is affecting everyone, just in different ways.

Widespread Anxiety

If you’re in an affected area and came in contact with someone who had the virus (or worse, contracted it yourself), you might be stuck in quarantine and unable to work unless you have the luxury of being able to work from home.

If you aren’t in an affected area, you are worried about your friends and family in affected areas. Maybe you are constantly worrying about possibly being a carrier and want to do your best not to take your chances and spread anything if you were a carrier.

If you have been following the stock market during this time, it has been quite the show (and not a good one).

The Dow plunged 10 points alone on Thursday (3/12) on it’s worst day since 1987 and the S&P had it’s worst week since 2008. Things are crazy, people are panicking and the economy is starting to show it.

Especially as schools close, restaurants and bars close and layoffs happen.

What’s clear is it might get worse before it gets better. But it will get better. People recover, the market will go back up and things will return back to whatever the word “normal” means to you…or close to it (so don’t freak out and take all your money out of stocks – just don’t touch it).

But until then, things will be hard.

Don’t focus on headlines, panic, and fear. Focus on what you can control in this present moment and how you can prepare in the event it does get worse.

The Affect on Gig Workers and Others Who Might Have to Miss Work

This trying time brings a lot of systems to light that are failing; our healthcare system, the lack of systems in place for people who work with the general public, restaurant workers, etc who won’t be compensated if they are forced to stay home, gig workers rights, etc. The list goes on.

The vast majority of Americans don’t have the luxury to work from home, especially our healthcare workers who will be on the front lines taking care of the sick.

Then there are the gig workers who work for companies like DoorDash, Postmates, Lyft, Instacart, and others. Those who are able to work from home such as pet sitters on Rover still put themselves at risk when meeting up with potential clients and housing pets in their homes where they don’t know if those people and pets have the virus or not.

Gig workers will also be on the front lines while things progress with this outbreak. Hear me out, it is a different front line but it’s still there.

Instacart already said last Thursday that their sales were 10 times higher last week than the previous week. The demand for gig workers for these companies are growing as this situation grows.

They are the people shopping for you, delivering your meals to you (or toilet paper and hand sanitizer if you couldn’t get it in time), picking you up and dropping you off at one of the worst places to be right now – the airport, and more. They are the ones doing all those convenient things for us, so we don’t have to.

Instacart already said last Thursday that their sales were 10 times higher last week than the previous week. The demand for gig workers for these companies are growing as this situation grows.Click to Tweet

How to Protect Your Health

Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical doctor and am just restating what’s been communicated by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization), which I link to below.

 
 
 
 
 
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It’s happened. What’s been happening with #covid19 #coronavirus has officially been declared a pandemic. What does that mean for some of you that can’t simply “work from home” if you are in an area with a high number of outbreaks, stores are closing and you don’t know what to do. If you work in the gig economy, a lot if those under quarantine will be relying on the convenience of delivered meals, packages of essentials and other things. But what about YOU as a gig economy worker putting yourself in harm’s way to do your job? You can take all of these necessary precautions, sure, but the companies you represent as a gig worker going out into the “fire” of what real life has become with this virus should be supporting you with more options, pay and healthcare. Click the link in the bio to sign the petition to target companies like DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart, Lyft, the rest of the gig economy and government officials to: – be transparent with workers about risks – suspend penalizing workers for missing scheduled blocks – provide gig workers with paid sick time – continue to pay workers their weekly average income if they are prevented from working due to a recommendation by public health authorities – allow workers to collect unemployment if they are unable to work due to the virus – provide workers an option to receive an advance on future earnings – not permanently deactivate workers who happen to contract the virus – take affirmative steps to communicate policies of zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment – and more (click the link in the bio to read the full petition and SIGN)

A post shared by Daniella @ I Like To Dabble (@iliketodabbleblog) on


What about YOU as a gig economy worker putting yourself in harm’s way to do your job? Well, if you’ve been out on the field for a while, this may be nothing new to you. You may be used to taking over-precautious measures as you come in close contact with many people day-to-day at your job.

I know many gig workers that already are refusing to deliver packages face-to-face at people’s doors and will leave the package (and food order) at the people’s doorstep.

Again, I am not a healthcare professional but taking the same advice from the professionals at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization), they listed some of these items for those who don’t have the option but to continue to go out and work every day:

  • Wash your hands (a no brainer, and get into the habit of washing them as much as possible).
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, etc.
  • Sanitize your area before and after you use it, including your phone (and think about not taking your phone into the bathroom with you…something I need to listen to).
  • Sanitize the inside of your car as much as possible if you drive for Uber or Lyft and before and after each passenger.
  • Avoid face-to-face contact with people as much as possible and if you deliver items or food to people, leave them at their doorstep with a message that they please understand that you are looking out for both your health and their health at this time (this might help you when they decide what to tip you).
  • Read this helpful link from the CDC for everything you can do.

What If You Have to Miss Work, What About Your Pay?

You can take all of these necessary health precautions, sure, but the companies you represent as a gig worker going out into the “fire” of what real life has become with this virus should be supporting you with more options, pay, and healthcare.

There is currently a petition sponsored by Working Washington to target companies like DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart, the rest of the gig economy and government officials to:

  • Be transparent with workers about risks.
  • Suspend penalizing workers for missing scheduled blocks.
  • Provide gig workers with paid sick time.
  • Continue to pay workers their weekly average income if they are prevented from working due to a recommendation by public health authorities.
  • Allow workers to collect unemployment if they are unable to work due to the virus.
  • Provide workers an option to receive an advance on future earnings.
  • Not permanently deactivate workers who happen to contract the virus.
  • Take affirmative steps to communicate policies of zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment.
  • And more (click here to read the full petition and SIGN).

There is also a second petition here that targets a similar goal.

We can’t control what these companies decide to do but we can try and urge them in the right direction.

How to Protect Your Money

What we can control is our plan with how we will protect our money in times of crisis. When things become the worst, you miss work and miss out on pay, there are some things you can do to protect your money.

First, work on building up an emergency fund. I suggest at least 3 months of living expenses saved up for a starter emergency fund but I urge you to look more towards a year. That is what we have saved up in ours and makes me feel the most comfortable. If you already have been prohibited to go back to work, you might be late on this and reading this advice now won’t help.

You don’t want to be told you need an emergency fund if you’re already without work and have no savings.

If you already lost your source of income at this time and have little to no savings, you are looking towards making money in any way you can.

I could tell you fun ways to start a side hustle like a start a blog, create a product, e-commerce store, Etsy store, an online brand, etc. But the truth is, you need money now and not a couple of months from now.

So I am going to cut right to the chase.

Here are some ways you can make money if you’ve lost your job (or need extra money or temporarily lost your source of income). I do recommend applying for unemployment to support yourself and family while looking for ways to earn an income again. You can do so here.

These are all online ideas and can be done from anywhere so you won’t have to risk your health:

Helpful posts for making money:

There are some things you can do to keep costs low during this time and that is getting in contact with your landlord or mortgage lender to see if they are providing any leeway for payments.

You can also try and lower bills through apps like Trim or shop around for alternative service providers for things like cell phone service and auto insurance to try and lower your bills more. I did this a couple of years ago with our car insurance and when I found out Geico was $150 less a month than my current auto insurance provider at the time without losing the level of coverage I had, I jumped on that deal and haven’t looked back since.

Lastly, as there will be more people in need of work and looking for ways to make money, scams will be there waiting for them.

Steer clear of MLMs (multi-level marketing) scams, work-from-home scams, and anything that seems sketchy at all. If you have trouble telling the difference between what’s legit online and what isn’t, read up on how to spot them here.

Be Aware and Stay Healthy!

Whether you are in an area with a high number of outbreaks or one with only 2 reported in the whole city, like where we are in St. Louis, MO, you are probably scared.

You may be doing everything you can to take health precautions, avoid crowded places, and keep food on the table. But I get it, it’s going to be fucking hard for some of you in these coming weeks to months as we deal with the evolution of this virus globally.

Check on our support system. You aren’t in this alone. Reach out to friends and family during this time. Chances are, you aren’t the only one struggling and maybe there are ways you can help each other out.

All you can do is continue to take the necessary precautions to the best of your ability and take it day by day.

Stay safe and healthy out there and feel free to email me at daniella@iliketodabble.com about how you are dealing during this time. I am thinking of putting together a sort of “reader’s stories” if you all want to participate and it ends up being potentially valuable to you all.

Let me know!

<3 Daniella

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How to protect your health and money as a gig worker and prepare for a recession #sidehustle #sidegig #gigworker #recession #moneytips #makemoney #savemoney #emergencyfund #emergencyplan #jobloss

2 thoughts on “How to Protect Your Health and Money as a Gig Worker”

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