Instawork’s Kira Caban on Remote Work and Achieving Job Flexibility

Instawork’s Kira Caban on Remote Work and Achieving Job Flexibility

Interview by Ricardo EstevesRicardo Esteves
Published: October 03, 2022
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Who is Kira Caban?

As Head of Strategic Communications at Instawork, Kira is well aware of the flexibility the career marketplace demands right now. Before joining Instawork, Kira was Director of Communications and PR at Protenus.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the job industry forever. While there was interest in remote work before the pandemic, it became a pressing need when people and companies were forced to find ways of working from home — then came The Great Resignation.

This meant considerable shifts in the last few years and the companies able to quickly adjust are at a clear advantage. Enter Instawork, a job and career marketplace that has seen amazing growth in the last two years by offering flexibility, among others.

Kira Caban, Instawork’s Head of Strategic Communications, offered us a bit of her time to talk about these changes, what they mean to the industry, and how Instawork has been thriving in this new era of job flexibility.

Instawork logo horizontal layout
[Source: Instawork]

Spotlight: People have been talking about The Great Resignation. In your opinion, why are Americans leaving their jobs, and what does this mean for employers?

Kira Caban: The pandemic changed how a lot of people, both desk-side and hourly workers, viewed their work life. For hourly workers, they were able to spend more time at home with their families and realized they wanted to find a way to work that would provide them the same type of flexibility as the desk-side workers that were leveraging Zoom to work in a way that best suited their personal needs.

They started looking for flexible work opportunities that would allow them to choose when, where, and how they worked. Flexible work has allowed them to create a work schedule that works best with their personal needs, particularly if they were responsible for caring for family members.

For employers, this means it’s increasingly important to understand the needs of their workers to ensure they are set up for success and are enticed to remain loyal to the business they are working for.

Instawork has experienced more than 1300% growth in 2021. What is the story behind Instawork, and how are you managing this drastic growth?

Instawork’s Co-Founder and CEO, Sumir Meghani, grew up in Michigan where his parents owned several small businesses. When they were short-staffed or had a demand surge, Sumir would go to their office after school and help stock shelves. It became clear very early on that staffing shortages could easily make or break a successful business.

Fast forward to Sumir’s tenure with Groupon, where he would routinely meet with local businesses and the same conversations would surface about their challenges in finding quality workers. A lack of reliable staffing was going to cripple their business. He was alarmed to learn that something that seemed as simple as not finding a dishwasher could be the reason a great local business would not be successful.

It was then that he decided to tackle this challenge and co-founded Instawork, a flexible work platform that matches local businesses with skilled hourly workers, creating economic opportunities in a number of industries, including food and beverage, hospitality, retail, and warehouse logistics in more than 30 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

The Instawork team works incredibly hard to ensure the businesses and workers who leverage the platform have a great experience. The company wouldn’t be where it is today without them. As a team, we are currently laser-focused on ensuring the success of our Pros and Partners and have a busy holiday season approaching. It’s our commitment to our Pros and Partners that serves as a guiding force to ensure we’re always delivering the best user experience possible. Others are noticing the team’s work.

Instawork was recently included on a list of the country’s top 10% of fastest-growing companies in the country, and was also recently included in Forbes’ Next Billion Dollar Startup list.

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The average hourly rates on your platform are way above the federal minimum wage. What is your business model, and why has it proven to be effective?

Instawork’s business model is unique in that businesses only pay when there is a successful match with a worker. A business is charged when a qualified worker shows up for a shift and does a great job. This is important as our interests are completely aligned with the business’ goals and the needs of the workers. We don’t require them to pay upfront to post their needs, like a job board. Also, the service is completely free for our app users.

Based on user feedback, does job flexibility affect the quality of workers and employers they receive? What are the five most important user insights you’ve received so far?

We recently published a report, The State of the Flexible Workforce, which sheds light on this rapidly growing segment of the workforce, detailing who these workers are and their motivations, and these were the five key takeaways:

  1. They are between 25 and 44 years of age
  2. A more diverse workforce when compared to overall hourly workers
  3. More educated (69% completed at least some college work or degrees and 97% completed high school) then the overall population of hourly workers
  4. More tech-savvy
  5. Flexibility is a primary motivator (aside from pay)

Aside from work flexibility, what does Instawork offer that is particularly important in the job market post-pandemic?

Instawork offers a variety of unique opportunities to workers leveraging the app to find flexible work opportunities in their area. In addition to the work flexibility, they also find higher hourly pay, often double the local minimum wage. Workers also have the option to get paid instantly, with many workers stating their earnings hit their account before they get to their car at the end of the shift.

Instawork also provides workers unique opportunities that they might not find elsewhere. Shifts are available in over half the professional baseball and football stadiums. Instawork Pros often work at unique events like big-named concerts and some of the entertainment industry’s biggest nights.

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With Instawork leading the movement towards more work flexibility, what will the job industry look like 10-30 years from now?

Some experts are predicting that flexible work will represent the majority of the workforce by 2027. We’re seeing signs of this rapid growth and interest in flexible work, with Instawork recently gaining more than a million new users in less than 6 months.

People are looking for a way to achieve their financial goals and still be there for their families. The ability to create a work schedule that best works for you is something that is really compelling to hourly workers across the country.

Thank you for sharing your time and insights, Kira! We wish you and Instawork all the best.  

Keep up with Instawork on Instagram @instaworkapp, and read about other successful businesses here!

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