What is Causing the Uptick in People Choosing to Work Part-Time?

By Eddie Lou, CEO

Today’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues a trend showing an increase in people who are actively choosing to work part-time. Is this rise simply a reflection of the overall uptick in employment, or is it related to the increase in opportunities for part-time workers looking to manage their own time?

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Shiftgig Specialists waiting to work the Mets vs. Royals World Series

The BLS separates out employment numbers for part-time workers into those who choose to work part-time for non-economic reasons, as opposed to those full-time workers who are forced into part-time work due to economic factors such as losing a full-time job.  Workers in the “non-economic reasons” bucket include those who actively seek part-time work to care for children or other loved ones or to balance their personal and work lives on their own terms.

If we go back to 2007, you can see that we are coming out of a period, starting about a year ago, when the numbers of workers choosing part-time are on the rise. The chart below shows annual summer dips (likely reflecting college students returning home for the summer), but it also shows that numbers for this group are reaching peaks that the employment market hasn’t seen since before the recession. In fact, the April 2015 number of 20.6 million is the highest on record in the 21st century.  

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Could this be a sign that the on-demand labor market is picking up and attracting more workers? Companies like Uber and Shiftgig offer opportunities for people to work when they want, where they want, and to manage their work lives around family needs and their own outside interests. The flexibility of managing your own schedule is appealing to a growing segment of workers who actively pursue part-time employment. Shiftgig announced this past week that they have received $22 million in Series B venture funding to expand their mobile marketplace connecting employers with local, vetted hourly workers.

“There aren’t any other opportunities out there that are as flexible as Shiftgig,” says Clint, a Chicago-area bartender. “You can make as much or as little as you want. You can choose your own destiny. It’s the only thing I know that you can do when it fits in your schedule, when it’s right for you.”

Economists and journalists often report on the number of people who have left the job market and are not seeking jobs as a sign that job gains reported by the BLS don’t tell the full story. But the economic numbers also reflect an increasing number of people choosing to work part-time.

It should be interesting to see if the number of people shifting their work life for noneconomic reasons–the ones choosing not to leave the workforce but to manage their work lives on their terms–will continue to rise as more opportunities open up for them.

Shiftgig Mets-Cubs Series Rivalry Results!

During the Mets-Cubs NLCS series, the Chicago and New York offices had a friendly competition of which city’s Specialists would earn higher quality scores, measured by our clients at the Mets and Cubs home stadiums. The winning office would receive a donation to their charity of choice – $1,000 plus $50 for each home run hit by the winning city office’s team. The Specialists in the winning city would win a pizza party.

The results are in! While the Mets swept the Cubs out of the series, Chicago Specialists edged out the New York City Specialists by a very thin margin via our internal quality score. Because the margin was so close, both teams of Specialists will enjoy a pizza party. With the Chicago Specialist team winning, the Shiftgig donation will go to the Anthony Rizzo Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research and provides support to children and their families battling the disease. The donation will be a total of $1,200 – $1,000 plus $50 for each of the 4 home runs hit by the Cubs during the series. This donation will be in the form of event staff.

Congratulations to both teams!

Shiftgig Inter-Office Rivalry During Mets-Cubs Series

Hey Shiftgig and baseball fans! It looks like the Mets are taking a big lead in their series with the Cubs, but which city can win a competition on quality of service?

Shiftgig has been running a friendly competition between our Chicago and New York offices during the series, with the winning office receiving a donation to their charity of choice. Shiftgig’s donation to the winning foundation will consist of $1,000 plus $50 for every home run hit by the city with the winning Specialist team. As of game 3, that’s $1,200 for the Mets or $1,150 for the Cubs. Daniel Murphy accounts for 3 of those 4 Mets home runs. He’s a donation machine.

12115843_1639911952917446_3850685321400198009_nShiftgig Specialists have worked hundreds of shifts at the home field of both the Mets and the Cubs during this series. We’re challenging these Specialists to see which team can earn a higher quality score, as measured by our clients at each location.

The Specialist team with the best quality score will earn a pizza party and a donation to a charity affiliated with their city’s team. If the NYC team wins, the donation will go to the David Wright Foundation, which provides aid and assistance toward the health, emotional development, and education of children in need. If the Chicago team wins, the donation will go to the Anthony Rizzo Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research and provides support to children and their families battling the disease.

Shiftgig New York’s General Manager Michael Goldberg says, “This is a great way to compete in a fun and healthy way where everyone can benefit: our Specialist teams, our clients, and children in need of medical help and support.”

Shiftgig is working with professional baseball and hockey teams and other cool venues in New York, Chicago and other major cities. If you’re interested in applying, visit shiftgig.com/ondemand/apply/ and use referral code “baseball.”

Featured image courtesy of lalatenews

10 Server Terms You Need To Know – Part 1

If you are new to the service industry, you’ll quickly learn that there are many different terms that are specifically used in restaurants. If you want to be a server or you already are, these terms, phrases, and slang are important to know and understand so there are no miscommunications. What is your favorite server term?

1. FRONT OF HOUSE (FOH) – The front of house is the area where guests are allowed to be, which includes the dining area and the bar.

2. BACK OF HOUSE (BOH) – The back of house is the area where guests are not allowed to be, which includes the kitchen, storage areas, and sometimes offices.

3. SECTION – A section refers to the area of tables that each server is responsible for during their shift. Some restaurants have permanent sections and other restaurants will shift sections depending on how many customers are dining in.

4. DOUBLE SAT – This is when a server has two tables seated in their section right after each other, which can sometimes make it hard to keep up with their tables.

5. SIDEWORK – As a server, part of your job will most likely include sidework, which means something different for every restaurant. This usually means rolling silverware, refilling salt and pepper shakers, and whatever else needs to be done in order to prepare each table. Although this type of work usually goes unpaid, it is a part of the job description.

6. BUSSING – This is most often done by bussers, whose job it is to clear, clean, and reset tables after each party leaves the restaurant.

7. DOUBLE – A double is when you have two shifts in a row, which can be tiring, but worth it when you count your tips at the end of the night.

8. PARTY – A party is a group of customers sitting at the same table.

9. COVER – A cover is another name for the amount of tables you turned or how many parties you served during a shift.

10. UPSELL – Upselling is when you try to sell customers a certain menu item that is higher in price in order to increase the bill. Sometimes restaurants will have specific items or specials that they want their servers to upsell.

How to Become a Bartender With No Previous Experience

Starting out in any career can be intimidating when you have no experience, but everyone has to start somewhere. Here are some helpful steps you can take to become a professional bartender. Good luck!

Step 1: Memorize Classic Cocktails

Start by looking up recipes for popular cocktails, and memorize them. Some examples are the Old Fashioned, Martini, Margarita, Long Island Iced Tea, Bloody Mary, Whiskey Sour, and the Manhattan. Of course there are hundreds of drinks you could memorize (and many bars like to put their own spin on them), but having a good base knowledge of some classic cocktails will make you look well informed and eager to learn the ropes when it comes time to learn how to pour.

Step 2: Learn Basic Bartending Lingo

There are important terms that every bartender should know, and although you can learn these while you are being trained, it looks good to have an understanding of them beforehand. Some of these terms are words people use when they are ordering a drink, like “on the rocks”, “up”, “neat”, or “with a twist”. Other terms refer to they way a drink is made, like muddling, shaking, or stirring.

Step 3: Spend Some *Sober* Time in a Bar

Hang out at a bar where you can order food and watch bartenders while they work. Watching a bartender’s movements and actions while they make drinks can actually be very informative. If the bartender is friendly you could tell them about your interest in becoming a bartender and ask for some tips.

Step 4: Apply for a Barback Job

Now that you are familiar with some bartender lingo and classic cocktail recipes it is time to find a job as a barback. You can look for jobs online or go into restaurants and ask for the manager in person. Make sure you come off as outgoing and personable, and that you look professional. If you are a people person, you shouldn’t have a problem making a good first impression. An important part of being a bartender is talking and listening to people – so make sure it is known that you are excited about that part of the job.

Step 5: Put Your Best Foot Forward

Once you land a barback job, make sure you take it seriously. At some bars and restaurants, this position can be seen as a “tryout” for eventually moving up to a bartending position. Make sure you always get to work on time, dress well, and offer your assistance.

Step 6: Become Friendly With the Bartending Staff

Although you want to make sure that you don’t get in the bartender’s way while they are busy, you should be friendly and try to develop a good relationship with them. Always ask if they need extra help and chat with them when the bar isn’t busy. Developing a good rapport with your higher ups will be instrumental when you ask to be more involved.

Step 7: Ask to Be More Involved and Learn How to Pour

Once you have established that you are a good employee and have made some connections with the bartenders that you work under, you should start to be vocal about your desire to be more involved. Tell the bartenders you work with that you would like to start learning more, and that you eventually want to become a bartender yourself. In most cases, if you have developed a good relationship, they will take you under their wing and teach you the basics during off hours. Learn everything you can about different liquors, beers, garnishes, glasses, and techniques.

Step 8: Practice Makes Perfect

Once you have learned the basics from your co-workers, you should invest in some bartending tools and start practicing on your own. Throw a get together with your friends (as long as they are all over 21) or offer to bartend at someone’s party to get more experience on your own. Getting your friend’s honest opinions can help you adjust your technique and can also help you develop a thick skin because some customers won’t be so pleasant when they are unhappy with your service.

Step 9: Talk to Management About Moving Up and Become a Bartender

Unless you ask to move up, you’ll never get the opportunity. A manager can’t read your mind even though you are always working above and beyond. You can talk to the bartenders and ask their opinion on how to move up or go straight to management depending on the atmosphere at work. If the bar you work at doesn’t want to move you up or has no openings, consider applying at other bars. If you are going around to new restaurants or bars, it is a good idea to get friendly with some bartenders because this will give you a better in. Be outgoing and confident whenever you talk to a manager, and let them know about all your experience and your commitment to the craft. Show your interest and determination by being persistent and check back to make sure hiring managers haven’t forgotten you.

Step 10: You Did It!

Finally you are a bartender and have perfected the craft! Now it’s your turn to give back and to take a newbie under your wing.

Working a Successful First Shift

Working a first shift anywhere can be intimidating whether you have been in the industry for a long time or are new to the game. To make a good first impression, it is important to be as prepared as possible.. Every new Specialist has a lot to learn, and with these tips, you will be well on your way to becoming an excellent Specialist even before you walk in the door.

 
Tip #1 Be prepared.

It is unprofessional to show up unprepared on your first day. First things first, make sure you’ve got the right start time (which is always 15 minutes prior to the start of your shift) and that you’re wearing the correct uniform . Certain shifts may require you to bring additional items like a chef’s kit, so be sure to read all the details about your shift on the Shiftgig app in advance. Not only will you be and feel prepared, you’ll show the client and your Field Manager that you are responsible and take your job seriously.

 
Tip #2 Today, you’re the “new guy”.

You may have been very successful at your past position, but with each new job, there are new things to learn. Make sure to listen to the directions from your Field Manager or the point of contact at the Shift, even if you think you already know what to do. New rules and/or procedures may surprise you, but it’s important to stay open minded and to be respectful. If you have any suggestions that you feel like bringing up, it is best to wait until you’re in the groove of things first. You may come to realize that things are done a certain way for a reason.

Tip #3 Be proactive when you show up.

To get yourself noticed and off on the right foot, always ask what you can do to help. Great starting lines include, “Hi, my name is so and so, what can I do to get started?, Where do you need the most help? What is the most important task at hand?”

Tip #4 Set reasonable expectations for yourself.

Your first day can be a whirlwind, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Learning a lot at once can be stressful, so give yourself time to adjust, no one expects you to be a pro on your first day.

 

Tip #5 Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

When you ask questions it shows that you care about doing a good job. Some examples of what you can ask are, “How would you like this done?” or “Is this in accordance with your procedures?” No one will fault you for feeling things out. It was everyone’s first shift once, and somebody has probably had the same question as you when they started out. So, if you have a question that you think is silly, ask it anyway! The more you know the more confident you will be.

How to be a Great Specialist: Your Guide to Server Shifts

As a service industry Specialist, your goal is to make the client happy. This means being professional, showing up on time, and much more. Some Specialists have extensive experience while others are newer, but for many it takes time to become great. This guide will help you become the best Specialist you can be. After all, a large component of being a successful Specialist is making a good impression on clients so they want to work with you again!

Tip #1
Be friendly.

Being friendly and smiling goes a long way. A guest should never feel like they are a burden to you. If you smile, it shows that you are happy to help with whatever your guest might need.

Tip #2
Have good hygiene.

It is important that you are fully prepared and look professional when you arrive for your shift. This means having the correct attire and looking clean. Make sure your hair is tied back and that you don’t have dirt under your fingernails. Part of leaving a good impression is making sure the client is happy even before you start.

Tip #3
Have a positive attitude.

Having a good attitude is so important when you work in the service industry because it determines your personal success and how the client perceives the event as a whole. When other Specialists see that you are lively and enthusiastic they will be inspired to match your energy level, which will also help the event run smoothly.

Tip #4
Don’t touch anyone.

It is unprofessional to touch guests in any way, even if it is just a hand placed on someone’s shoulder. You never know who you are serving, so your best option is to be extra polite. You don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

Tip #5
Don’t be a gossip.

You should never talk about your fellow Specialists in front of clients or guests. While you’re on the clock, you should always be professional and keep issues to yourself. If an issue requires urgent attention, then bring it up in private to your Field Manager.

Tip #6
Be proactive.

Being proactive will make you stand out as a Specialist. Make sure you are on top of all your duties and get things done ahead of time, if possible. Offer your assistance if you see that another Specialist is overwhelmed, or ask your Field Manager if there is anything you can do to help during your down time – going the extra mile is always appreciated!

Tip #7
Don’t eat or drink in front of customers.

Every client has a different protocol about food breaks, but no matter the policy, you should never be seen eating or drinking in front of guests. You are not there to enjoy the event, you are part of the team running it; eating or drinking on the job may be perceived as unprofessional. Also, if people see you eating with your hands they might assume that you haven’t washed your hands and are spreading germs.

Tip #8
Toughen up.

Clients can be very specific and want things run a certain way, so if you slip up they might want to address the issue with you. This can be an uncomfortable experience if you don’t find a good way to handle it. Everyone wants their event to go smoothly, and getting everyone on the same page is part of that process. Try not to take things too personally, stay positive, and try to improve yourself throughout the rest of your shift.