News Article | September 15, 2016
The report on the global workforce management software market states that the market is expected to expand at a steady pace during the period between 2016 and 2021 owing to the changing platforms and dynamic trends. The report, titled ‘Global Workforce Management (WFM) Software Market 2016 Industry, Analysis, Research, Share, Growth, Sales, Trends, Supply, Forecast to 2021,’ states that the trends in WFM are consistently changing and organizations are concentrating on adapting to the newest innovations to stay in the competitive market. Get Sample Copy of Report for more Professional and Technical insights at: http://www.qyresearchreports.com/sample/sample.php?rep_id=723652&type=E The 134-page report states that the introduction of sophisticated mobile devices, gamification, and social media prominence may impact the growth of workforce management software suites positively. With the availability of workforce management mobile applications, managing the workforce on smartphones has become simple. Workforce management is also expected to be boosted by the advent of desktop and speech analytics tools and devices that deliver a better insight into consumers and their needs. The report defines workforce management and highlights its applications, specifications, and characteristics. A workforce management software helps organizations better manage their global labor force by dealing with various labor laws and employee benefits. The demand for WFM software is increasing across various regions. Key companies are focusing on introducing advanced workforce management software as per the changing trends and needs of organizations. Interested in report: Please follow the below link to meet your Requirements http://www.qyresearchreports.com/report/global-workforce-management-wfm-software-industry-2016-market-research-report.htm For a competitive analysis, key companies operating in the global workforce management software market are listed in the report. ClickSoftware, Verint, VPI Corp, Calabrio, Monet Software, Interactive Intelligence, JDA Software, Skill Soft, Reflexis, Astea, Mitrefinch, Unanet, Replicon, and PARiM are some of the companies operating in the global workforce management software market. Key companies operating in the market are profiled with details such as gross margin and revenue. With industry-standard tools such as SWOT analysis, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of companies are studied in the research. Technological developments and new project investments are also studied in the report by the analysts. The SWOT analysis tool is also used to measure the feasibility of new projects in the global market. The global workforce management software market is benefited by the adoption of advanced technologies. The entry of new companies is also expected to make the global market highly competitive through the forecast period. QYResearchReports.com is the trusted source of market research reports among clients that include prestigious Chinese companies, multinational companies, SMEs, and private equity firms. Our market research reports focus on categories including but not limited to: Chemicals, Energy, Alternative and Green Energy, Machinery, Manufacturing, Glass, Pharmaceuticals and Materials READ MORE
News Article | February 28, 2017
NGINX Customer Support Team Recognized for Outstanding Service for Second Consecutive Year SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Feb 28, 2017) - NGINX, Inc., the engine delivering sites and applications for the modern web, today announced it has won a Gold Stevie® Award in the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the second consecutive Stevie Award win for NGINX's customer support team. NGINX was selected as a finalist for Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year in the Computer Software category, and named a Gold winner as selected by a panel of expert judges made up of global sales and customer service spanning almost every industry. NGINX Plus, the commercially supported version of the open source NGINX software, launched in late 2013 in response to users who wanted a managed release process and professional, enterprise-grade support on top of the free open source technology. Since then, NGINX Plus has seen significant year-over-year growth -- in large part thanks to its first-rate customer support team. By enabling flawless delivery of mission-critical applications, NGINX has supported customers in creating some of the world's most visited sites and applications. "NGINX products are known for their superior quality, and we believe our customers deserve equally superior support," said Gus Robertson, CEO, NGINX, Inc. "We're honored that the NGINX Plus support team has been recognized again for its commitment to helping our customers deliver their applications with the utmost performance, reliability, security, and scale. Our customers are delivering some of the world's most impressive digital experiences, and we're proud to partner with them along the way." With this award, the NGINX support team is recognized for its achievements since July 2015, a period during which the number of customers served by the team increased by 113 percent. In the midst of this incredible growth, the NGINX support team nearly doubled the number of customer requests it resolved year over year, closing 92 percent more tickets than in the previous year. While remaining small and agile, the team did more than efficiently handle the increased workload -- they kept the customer satisfaction rate incredibly high and even added a number of new support features. "I found NGINX Plus support to be extremely helpful and was really impressed just how fast they replied and with the accuracy of their answers," said Joseph Borg, IT and Network Infrastructure Manager, 3BetGaming. "Being an IT manager, I deal with support from all sorts of companies and have a fair sense of what each company's support is all about. With NGINX Plus, I was positively surprised with the high quality of the support, given the relatively low cost of the software. A lot of people might initially start considering a load balancer and fail to consider the quality of support they are really getting. The support with NGINX Plus surpassed my expectations and my previous experiences with other companies." NGINX was named among many other innovative brands and industry heavyweights, including Acquia, Box, and Replicon in the same category, and Cisco, Dow Jones, and IBM in additional sales and customer service categories. More than 2,300 nominations -- from organizations of all sizes, across virtually every industry, and representing 43 nations -- were evaluated in this year's competition, an increase of 10 percent over 2016. Finalists were determined by the average scores of 161 professionals worldwide acting as preliminary judges, with only about 40% of entries receiving average scores high enough to qualify as finalists. For more details about NGINX Plus customer support offerings, please visit: www.nginx.com/support/ For more details about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and the list of Stevie winners, please visit: www.stevieawards.com/sales About NGINX, Inc. NGINX is the heart of the modern web -- helping the world's most innovative companies deliver their sites and applications with performance, reliability, security, and scale. The company offers an award-winning, comprehensive application delivery platform in use on more than 300 million sites worldwide. Companies around the world rely on NGINX to ensure flawless digital experiences through features such as advanced load balancing, web and mobile acceleration, security controls, application monitoring, and management. More than half of the Internet's busiest websites rely on NGINX, including Airbnb, Box, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and Zappos. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with its EMEA headquarters in Cork, Ireland, and additional offices in the US and Europe. Learn more at https://www.nginx.com/ About The Stevie Awards Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.
News Article | October 28, 2016
Starbucks. Kurt Cobain. These are what one normally thinks of when you mention Seattle. 10,000ft is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that is making Seattle a burgeoning hub for project management tool innovation. 10,000ft is a visually oriented project management application with strong suites in resource planning and forecasting. The company's PR person contacted me about testing a trial version of 10,000ft's new project management application, which I did. Here's my review. The 10,000ft user interface is adaptable and flexible when it comes to setting up phases, budgets, schedules, deadlines, and other project elements; experienced web application users should be able to learn it rather quickly. The user interface has a very creative team feel to it. I always welcome a better user experience and minimalist user interfaces in project management applications. With more teams dealing with time-strapped people and companies facing a down economy, it has never been more important for project management platforms to have the tools to drill down into team members' projects and know how they are contributing to their organization's success. 10,000ft includes one of the better integrations of people information (scheduling, presence, and budgeting) into a project management application I've seen in quite some time. Figure A shows an example view of what team members can see about their own activities across projects. The 10,000ft Projects page offers the choice between a grid and a list view of your total projects. You can make the view more granular by selecting Show Options like Project State, Project Type, Client, and Tag. When you open a project on the page, you can view, add, and track critical project data, including: Schedule, Status, Fees, Expenses, and Dates and Activities. The page is well laid out, and I could see an entire project team interacting with projects after some practice. This is one of the keys to project management becoming a learned skill and behavior. I recommend that teams transitioning from legacy project management tools like Microsoft Project and spreadsheets spend ample time when taking 10,000ft or similar software for a trial to experiment with the views available over their project data. At first glance, the Schedule in 10,000ft looks like an update on the old school Gantt chart; however, within a few clicks, it's clear that views are one of 10,000ft's strengths. You can tap into schedule viewing options, including views of: There's also a slider available to let you zoom in and out over the schedule calendar. Figure B shows an example of how schedules appear in 10,000ft. Schedules in 10,000ft (Click the image to enlarge.) As SaaS project management applications replace legacy desktop project management applications, we're entering a new era where analytics can augment project management decisions. 10,000ft includes analytics that can offer project managers and stakeholders a deeper view into their organizations' project performance. You have the option to create and save analytics reports based on your business and operational requirements. Figure C shows an example of an analytics report that compares departmental performance inside an organization. Example of 10,000ft analytics report for how departments compare (Click the image to enlarge.) 10,000ft integrates with Intuit QuickBooks, a popular choice for small to medium businesses. Plus, the 10,000ft site has complete documentation on an easy-to-manage process for exporting project data to QuickBooks. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are going to play an important role in the future of SaaS project management platforms. The 10,000ft API is still in closed beta as of this writing. 10,000ft includes an HTML5 mobile interface from which team members can log in and submit their timesheets directly from their mobile devices. While the 10,000ft design sensibilities translate well to mobile, I'm seeing far more action with vendors like LiquidPlanner and Clarizen creating mobile project management apps for their users; Replicon Mobile uses the cloud and a mobile app for time keeping. I'd like to see what the 10,000ft team could do with an iOS project management app. 10,000ft has a clean design, robust features, and a user experience that project management tools need for the widest adoption on project teams. While 10,000ft targets more design and content shops, it does offer another example to follow toward the future of SaaS-based project management. Check out the 10,000ft site for pricing information. If your organization uses 10,000ft, describe your experience with the platform in the comments section. If not, let us know your project management application of choice.
News Article | December 8, 2016
G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business software review platform, today released the Winter 2017 Professional Service Automation Grid report to help businesses make the best professional service automation technology buying decision. FinancialForce PSA was named a Leader in the report, receiving a strong customer satisfaction score with a large market presence. Kimble PSA, Krow PSA, Avaza, Mavenlink, Replicon, Accelo, Unanet and Projector PSA were named High Performers in the report, earning strong customer satisfaction marks with smaller market presence scores. Krow PSA earned the highest overall satisfaction score, while NetSuite OpenAir earned the highest overall market presence score. The Grid leverages customer satisfaction data reported by authenticated users along with vendor market presence determined from social and public data. Based on a combination of these scores, each software solution is categorized as a Leader, High Performer, Contender or Niche. •Learning curve — A number of users felt that there is a learning curve with PSA systems. In short-answer responses, some attributed the learning curve to the breadth of features, while others noted that customizations can compound the matter. While administrators generally felt the customizations make for easier system management, some did note that it can cause training issues for the end user. Other reviewers hoped for more training guidance and documentation when implementing to help ease the learning curve. •The importance of reporting — Reviewers consistently voiced opinions on the reporting capabilities of PSA systems; however, they were conflicted as a whole. Some were simply happy with the ability to run reports in real-time, while others wished for more comprehensive reporting data. Either way, there was no denying the importance of reporting from short-answer reviews, with many users noting how leveraging data from reports has a direct impact on improving processes and overall business growth. Reporting received an average satisfaction rating of 83%. •Project financials — Reviewers found the ability to break down financials on a project level a major benefit of PSA systems. Users repeatedly enjoyed project accounting, budgeting, and forecasting in short-answer responses, despite these respective feature satisfaction ratings not necessarily being in line with reviewer's short-answer sentiments. ●The report is based on more than 429 reviews written by business professionals. ●Of the 32 products listed in G2 Crowd’s Professional Service Automation category, the ranked products each received ten or more reviews to qualify for inclusion on the Grid. G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business software review platform, leverages more than 100,000 user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Technology buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Monthly more than a half-million people visit G2 Crowd’s site. Co-founded by the founder and former executives from SaaS leader BigMachines and backed by roughly $12 million in capital, G2 Crowd aims to bring authenticity and transparency to business technology research. For more information, go to G2Crowd.com.
Replicon | Date: 2014-09-12
The present invention relates to use of a composition comprising D-glyceric acid (DGA), DL-glyceric acid, L-glyceric acid, or hydroxypyruvatic acid and/or their salts or esters. Further, the invention relates to the use of said composition for enhancing direct and indirect mitochondrial metabolism, e.g. the ATP producing electron transport system (ETS), citric acid cycle or tricarboxylic acid cycle, (TCA), and beta oxidation, and also enhancing the shuttling of reducing equivalents from mitochondrial matrix into the cytosol and protein synthesis in the endoplasmic reticulum. Directly related to the above the use of DGA relates also to reducing the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Alleviating, preventing and even healing effects towards extremely wide range of non-communicable diseases materializes.
News Article | July 22, 2014
The main product of professional-services companies is their time. To help track that precious resource, New York-based Harvest has come out with a cloud-based, visually-oriented service. Called Harvest Forecast, the new product expands on, and integrates with, Harvest’s main service of time tracking and invoicing. A Forecast user can modify staffing time on a project by dragging and moving visual blocks of time. “It’s not a [full] project management tool,” Harvest co-founder Danny Wen told VentureBeat. “A project management tool is good at [tracking] discrete tasks,” he said, while Forecast is for “an agency that wants to know who’s going to be available for a project in two weeks.” Forecast does, however, include milestones. “If I see an important launch milestone coming up,” Wen said, it helps focus how people’s time is planned. Other time trackers such as Hours or Toggl, he said, “don’t have this component of looking into the future as well as comparing it with the past,” by the integration of a time tracker and a time planner. Wen added that competing time planners like OpenAir can compare future time planning to actuals, but Forecast “is modern, more simplified, and easier to grasp.” A time planner like Replicon, he noted, is more focused toward the enterprise. Forecast’s release follows several months of beta testing with about 100 Harvest customers. One of the most popular features, Wen said, was the ability to add and define filters, so that a user could filter by, say, roles instead of actual people. The 8-year-old Harvest might add some project-management capabilities in the future, Wen said, as well as integrations with existing software for that. The “key integration” at launch, he said, is with his company’s time-tracking service. With Harvest to track time already spent, and Forecast predicting how time will be spent, customers “can now get a complete picture of their time from the past to the future,” the company said in a statement. Subscription to Forecast starts at $20 a month for up to 10 projects.
News Article | May 21, 2015
Replicon, a Bay Area company that provides workforce management software, wanted to raise awareness of its products through an integrated content program centered around live events, using LinkedIn to promote the events to specific job titles. The company, founded in 1996, provides cloud-based software to manage employees' time and attendance, as well as professional services such as project management and billing. "We really have a full gamut of audiences -- depending on the product suite -- from HR to the COO," said Brett Chester, VP-online marketing at Replicon. "For time and attendance needs, that's basically HR or payroll titles. For our professional services tools, a lot of COOs are pushing these down through their organizations to ensure operational efficiency." In order to raise awareness of Replicon and the breadth of products it provides, the company launched a content program that would focus on the topic of "Culture vs. Compliance," targeting specific titles through LinkedIn. "These are very hot topics in the Bay Area and in New York, where startups are flourishing," Mr. Chester said. "A lot of organizations are pressing for culture to be the driving force of how they make decisions on their employee systems, for instance, having unlimited vacations -- which is a great thing to have, but how does it affect the company from a compliance perspective?" He pointed to recent legal troubles at companies including Staples and CVS, which are facing class-action lawsuits involving employee compensation. "We wanted to get out in front of everyone and make sure they know this topic exists," Mr. Chester said. "If companies push too far to one side or not far enough, they could end up in potentially some trouble." So Replicon created an event series called "Culture vs. Compliance," featuring a presentation by Brian Dixon, an attorney at law firm Littler Mendelson who specializes in labor law compliance. Replicon put on four events in the Bay Area and two in New York. It promoted the event series primarily through LinkedIn, using sponsored updates and sponsored InMail. "Strategically, the goal was to drive at least 50% of those who registered to attend the event," Mr. Chester said, noting that average event attendance is about 30% of registrations. Replicon teased the event with a LinkedIn sponsored update, with a headline reading, "Your company culture might get you sued," and an infographic promoting the event series. It followed up with a sponsored InMail message to LinkedIn users with HR, payroll manager and higher-level titles. Within the first two weeks of the campaign, the sponsored updates delivered over 90,000 impressions, with an average click-through rate of 1.33%, compared with the LinkedIn average click-through rate of 0.31% during that same time period, said Victor Lin, digital marketing manager at Replicon. "A lot of it was due to good copy resonating with our target audience," Mr. Lin said. "Over the course of the campaign, we tweaked the message as we were learning and improving." The event achieved the campaign goal, with an average attendee rate of 51% -- and in some locations, such as Silicon Valley, the attendance rate topped 60% of registrations. As for ROI on sales, Mr. Chester said it is still too early to gauge the effect, since the product has a lengthy sales cycle of up to one year. Here are some lessons learned from the campaign: 1. Use a mix of tools on LinkedIn. "We utilized a marketing mix that no one had used before in the same way, creating a teaser concept through a sponsored post with an infographic, following up with InMail," Mr. Chester said. 2. Understand the target audience's needs. "When you truly understand your audience, who they are and what they need, then you are able to say, 'We have something you're looking for'," said Mr. Lin. 3. Create content to use in the sales cycle. "The intimacy of the content was a critical success point," Mr. Chester said. "It wasn't supposed to be thousands of people in the room, but an intimate conversation between leaders." Replicon also created a printed book called "Surviving 2015 and Beyond: New Year, New Laws," which it distributed at the event and could also be used in the sales cycle, he said. 4. Develop an "event in a box." The program was so successful that now Replicon is taking the same format and rolling it out in other markets. "Internally, we are calling it an 'event in a box'," Mr. Lin said. "We ran it first in San Francisco and the Bay Area, then we picked up the same materials and dropped it in New York, and we will begin it next in Canada."
News Article | June 21, 2015
The debate on overtime pay has surged in the last year: Who should be paid for overtime? How many people should receive these benefits? As the Department of Labor prepares to revise the rules this month, determining which workers are eligible for overtime pay, employees, unions and employers alike will be closely monitoring the reforms, given the impact on millions of Americans. The impact of the revised rules boil down to the earnings threshold before an employee qualifies for overtime pay, regardless of his or her work duties. This range will most likely be between $42,000 and $58,000; the latter amount covers approximately 54 percent of salaried workers, or an additional 2.6 million people. The premise behind revising the regulations makes sense. The salary threshold defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has only been updated twice in the last 40 years. Because of inflation, the current threshold excludes the vast majority of salaried workers from overtime pay. In 2013, a mere 11 percent of employees were eligible for overtime pay, compared to 65 percent in 1975. In short, people are working longer hours against a lower average salary compared to the previous generation. While overtime pay reforms are a step in the right direction, the reality is, looking at the salary threshold as the panacea for overtime pay issues within organizations is a misguided strategy. A long list of businesses have capitalized by skirting labor laws and pocketing millions of dollars -– and the reasons vary. In 2012, almost $1 billion was recovered in back wages for the victims of wage theft. Frankly, this is a drop in the bucket against the estimated $50 billion per year that employers withhold from employees by making them work off the clock, shave hours off their paychecks, pay for work-related expenses out of their own paychecks or other practices that gouge wages. Too many companies have come under investigation for not paying their employees properly, whether it be for unpaid hours, off-the-clock work, employee misclassification as exempt from overtime, missed meals and breaks or unpaid internships. For example, an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit was filed against Staples this year for failing to pay its delivery drivers for all hours worked. (Staples has encountered an FLSA lawsuit before: the company paid $38 million in 2007 to settle a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit alleging it misclassified its California-based assistant store managers as exempt from overtime pay over a period of 12 years.) Walmart, TJ Maxx, Kroger and Chipotle are other companies that have had class action lawsuits filed against them. While the fast food and retail industries have traditionally encountered the highest percentage of labor-related litigation, tech startups — particularly those that provide goods and services on-demand — could be part of the next wave of businesses contesting class action lawsuits. Uber and Lyft are currently facing separate landmark wage and hour lawsuits from drivers who argue that they are entitled to overtime pay, minimum wage, reimbursement from expenses and other benefits. Uber and Lyft contend the drivers are contractors who are required to pay for expenses out of their own pocket. With news breaking this week that the California Labor Commission ruled one of Uber’s drivers was an employee, businesses in the sharing economy that rely on a fleet of contract workers to provide goods and services 24/7 should take note of how they classify and pay their employees. This has raised debate about whether similar rulings will follow on employee misclassification, and also whether the success of on-demand companies can be somehow attributed to their ability to previously skirt additional wage payments. While many pundits claim that FLSA laws are overly complex and full compliance is nearly impossible, far too often businesses push their employees to work off the clock as they look to cut costs and squeeze more out of their existing resources. Lawsuits and hefty fines are one way of preventing businesses from skirting labor rules –- but organizations must be more proactive and accountable when it comes to such regulations. For starters, businesses should review their existing job descriptions to determine whether they are accurate and reflect the roles of individual employees. Businesses must also clearly articulate overtime policies to each employee, and foster open lines of communication with individuals should they have any questions regarding their wages. With details about overtime pay reforms set to be disclosed any day now, understanding and adhering to labor regulations will be critical –- it’ll certainly be more cost-effective than facing any legal embroilments that can have lasting effects on a company’s brand and reputation.
News Article | July 27, 2015
Commentary: Contractors need the right tools to stay compliant with the federal government's ever-changing labor reforms. Whether it's minimum wage hikes, increasing the salary threshold for overtime pay or mandating additional paid sick and parental leave, the federal government has placed labor regulations at the top of its agenda with the aim of reducing income inequality and modernizing how workers are compensated. Last year, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (as part of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order), making it more challenging for companies to win federal contracts if they violate workers' rights. The proposed guidance and regulation, which are open for comment until July 26 and 27 respectively, would require prospective government contractors whose estimated value of supplies or services exceeds $500,000 to disclose whether they've violated any labor laws in the past three years. Once they've secured the contract, contractors must continue to update their disclosures every six months. From the outset, these amendments would pose a significant headache for federal contractors, who will need to allocate more resources to tracking, cataloguing and reporting any offenses across the entire organization. The proposed guidance stipulates that the contractor must provide details on the specific labor law that was violated, the case number or other unique identification number, the date of the judgment and the name of the court or arbitrator that presided it. However, the reforms are overdue and frankly, warranted. Each year, a lengthy list of businesses face or settle class action lawsuits from skirting labor laws. Millions of dollars have been shelled out for failing to pay overtime premiums alone – LinkedIn, Walmart and Staples are just a few companies that have experienced lawsuits from unpaid employee hours, off-the-clock work, employee misclassification, and missed meals and breaks. The extent of businesses failing to meet overtime labor regulations is significant — in 2012, almost $1 billion was recovered from wage theft, a mere drop in the ocean from the estimated $50 billion. While many industry pundits and national trade associations argue that the labor reforms are overly complex and will add more administrative burdens on government contractors, far too often businesses have pushed their employees to skirt existing labor rules — particularly as businesses look to cut costs and squeeze more out of their existing resources. Many businesses should already have the basic processes and tools in place to adhere to these reforms. At the most basic level, one department should centrally manage the process, identify the business units to work with (including HR, finance and legal teams) and develop the systems to monitor, identify and report potential labor violations. The right tools will be crucial to helping would-be contractors better define how, when and where employees work, and manage the complexity of staying labor compliant with ever-changing reforms as the company grows. While the initial costs of establishing the best processes, policies and technologies may seem overwhelming, as labor and employment law becomes a core criteria of the contracting process, it makes sense for federal contractors to get this right. Rather than view these changes in a negative light, these proposed reforms should be seen as part of a welcome transformation for businesses to be more accountable to their employees, foster open lines of employee-employer communication and transparency, and ultimately improve the private-public sector partnership. Raj Narayanaswamy is the co-founder and co-CEO of Replicon, which works with organizations of all sizes to capture, manage and optimize their most important asset — time — to drive business growth and ensure labor compliance.
News Article | July 14, 2015
In her first major speech laying out her economic agenda, Hillary Clinton on Monday slammed the “on-demand economy”, accusing bosses of exploiting their workers by “misclassifying them as contractors.” The presidential hopeful said that while the sharing economy, led by high-profile technology startups like Uber, Airbnb and Lyft, is “creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation … it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protection and what a good job will look like in the future.” Her criticisms come on the heels of numerous lawsuits against these tech companies, which connect people with workers who provide services. At the heart of the lawsuits is a fundamental dispute over what responsibility a company has toward the people it relies on, whether they’re employees or contractors, to build and maintain its brand. The suits also raise larger questions about which employment models are best – for employers, workers and the customers they serve. The ride-sharing service Uber, for instance, which connects drivers with riders using an app, has upended the taxi industry and changed the way people get around. The company has experienced staggering growth in its six-year history, and in May it was valued at an estimated $50bn. Uber’s success is due in part to its employment model – its workers are classified as independent contractors, and not employees, which means Uber isn’t responsible for a host of expenses like payroll taxes, fuel, car insurance and sick pay. But that could soon change. The California labor commission last month ruled that an Uber driver was indeed an employee. The commission sided with the driver, Barbara Ann Berwick, agreeing that Uber was “involved in every aspect of the operation.” The company was ordered to pay Berwick around $4,000 in owed expenses. Uber has appealed the ruling, and said in a statement that the decision is “non-binding and applies only to a single driver.” Now the company is facing a possible class action lawsuit lodged by three more Uber drivers, who say they should also be viewed as employees. On Thursday, Uber filed a motion arguing that the lawsuit represents only a small number of its drivers. Included in the motion were declarations from around 400 Uber drivers in California, asserting that the current model works for them. One driver, Howard Hsu, a real estate investor with three children, said, “I would not want to be an employee of Uber because that would mean less flexibility. Uber could tell me where to drive, when to drive, and how to drive … It would definitely make driving far less desirable if I had to be an employee.” Uber said in a statement that there is “no typical driver”, and in one of its lawsuits noted that its 160,000 drivers in California have “little or nothing in common.” Since its inception, Uber has maintained that it is merely a platform that connects drivers with riders. Other companies that rely on a similar business model, like Uber’s ride-sharing competitor Lyft, grocery shopping service Instacart, and Postmates, a delivery company, are also facing lawsuits from workers demanding employee rights. Uber says its drivers will suffer if they are stripped of their status as independent contractors. “As employees, drivers would drive set shifts, earn a fixed hourly wage, and lose the ability to drive using other ride-sharing apps as well as the personal flexibility they most value,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “The reality is that drivers use Uber on their own terms: they control their use of the app.” And indeed, experts say that changing its business model may in fact hurt Uber drivers. A typical Uber driver earns between $16 and $30 an hour, depending on the state, which is around $6 an hour more than an average taxi or limo driver. If the company’s drivers are classified as employees, Uber will likely raise its rates and lower its pay to remain competitive. “This will mean thousands of Uber drivers will have the basic protections of all California employees, but may be making less money,” said Roxanne Davis, an employment law attorney in Los Angeles. “Uber could easily lower the pay for the drivers to minimum wage, reimburse mileage at $0.575/mile and cover their insurance.” While the contractor model offers flexibility, workers aren’t always paid enough to cover insurance and retirement savings, which typically would be included in their overall compensation if they were employees. If companies don’t stump up the extra cash to pay for these out-of-pocket expenses, then it falls squarely on the shoulders of the contractors. “To say ‘Oh I want you independently and I’m going to pay you no more than you would get as a regular wage employee,’ – that seems like a really crummy deal,” said John-Paul Ferguson, an assistant professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. It doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario, experts say. Whether workers are classified as employees or not, companies can probably pay more and still turn a tidy profit. Massively successful companies like Uber and Lyft would have had a hard time securing venture capital if their long term profitability was based solely on paying their workers the absolute minimum. “What we’d like to take off the table is the assumption that the sharing and on-demand economy is not profitable,” says Ferguson, “and if we were to impose any additional costs they’d go out of business.” Some experts say it’s only a matter of time before companies like Uber have to change the way they employ people. “Technology has caught up with the faster business model, but labour regulations have not,” said Raj Narayanaswamy CEO of Replicon, which helps big companies better optimise their time. “And this has opened up a loophole for businesses to be morally bankrupt, ignoring the obligations to its workforce because no legal conduct has been established.” Whatever the outcome of the pending lawsuits, it’s unlikely that just one model will work for everybody. “There are enough differences in nature of work and industries,” said Ferguson, “It’s better if we have flexibility.”