Erasmus Trustfonds grant for research on how platform workers juggle jobs

The Erasmus University, Rotterdam Campus

Platform workers are people who offer a diverse range of services, including transport, coding and writing product descriptions by using an app or a website (such as Uber or Deliveroo). Erasmus Trustfonds granted 26800 euros for the interdisciplinary project ‘Hybrid employment in the platform economy: Who is juggling multiple jobs and how?’ With this research dr. Francisca Grommé, Prof. Claartje ter Hoeven and Jans Berden MSc., at the Erasmus University Rotterdam aim to find out how platform workers combine jobs and how it affects the quality of working life.

Platform work has introduced major changes in how work is organised and experienced, among others because it is task-based and because management happens largely by algorithms. It is also controversial, as is demonstrated by a recent court case in which it was decided that Uber drivers should be formally treated as employees instead of freelance workers. Previous research has focused on such aspects as wellbeing and stress but has rarely considered that the majority of platform workers in the Netherlands juggle multiple jobs.

Therefore, Grommé, Ter Hoeven and Berden aim to learn whether and how hybrid employment (juggling jobs) matters for the quality of working life. This is important to find out, according to Grommé, because “the promise of platform work is that it is flexible and can be fitted into workers’ longer-term career plans. However, we need to find out under which conditions platform work can be used to support people’s plans and dreams.”

Timeframe and research methods 

The research project lasts one year and will begin in October 2021. It consists of a methodological review, a qualitative study of platform workers’ motivations, strategies and experiences with hybrid employment, and a quantitative study on the effect of combining multiple jobs on work motivation and recovery from work. It will combine insights from, among others, organisational studies, sociology and organisational psychology.

Jans Berden

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