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Uber Works: On-Demand Staffing Solution For Businesses

Before the COVID pandemic, Uber Works debuted an app that allowed temp workers to find a local job with same-day pay in the Chicago area.

It’s no secret that Uber is a behemoth in the world of ridesharing.

After all, the company consistently tops the list of rideshare companies not only in the United States, but globally.

As Uber attempted to diversify its offerings for entrepreneurs and gig workers, the company developed Uber Works.

This on-demand staffing solution wanted to offer businesses short-term solutions for events and limited engagements.

Unfortunately, they launched shortly before the pandemic, then struggled to gain traction as all events suddenly halted.

What was Uber Works?

vector graphic showing hand holding phone and a car with the Uber Works title and description below it

Uber Works was an extension of the ride-sharing service’s many different Uber services offered to customers.

It relied on an app that matched works with employers who needed gig workers for short-term projects.

Uber created this extension company to help employees find work more easily.

The company also planned to simplify the process of on-boarding temporary employees by outsourcing the paperwork like taxes and pay.

The Uber Works app tracked time clocking employees in and out of their workplaces.

The Uber Works app organized jobs through TalentBurst and TrueBlue, so workers could stay in one location as often as possible.

Workers had to choose one of the employers and could hone their skills and not worry about buying several outfits for different employers.

Most of the jobs involved general labor, cleaning, restaurant work, and warehouse work.

Before onboarding any employees, Uber screens all workers and runs background checks on them, too.

Once TalentBurst or TrueBlue posted a job, Uber Works sent the job to the pre-qualified worker, just like they do with drivers.

The app allows the worker and employer to rate each other after the completion of the job.

What Problem Did Uber Work Solve?

Uber work attempted to solve the bottleneck that can occur when employers need temporary workers.

With an outsourcing company and app managing time, payroll, and other onboarding processes, employers could take on temporary employees easily.

The app also solved the problem of workers looking for local gig work.

The idea was that Uber and Uber Eats drivers could find some variety if they grew tired of driving.

Uber Works paid employees that day, just like Uber and Uber Eats.

In traditional temp work, workers would have to wait up to a month for pay, so Uber Works solved problems for employers and employees.

The additional app also helped Uber.

With Uber losing money on its ride-share program, it needed to find a way to diversify and please its investors.

Uber Eats has helped the process of turning Uber into a profitable company, but the Uber Works app was supposed to make a major difference.

Sadly, the pandemic took care of the idea of diversifying into a shift-work app.

Part of the problem originated in 2019 when California legislated gig-worker protections that put added pressure on Uber.

To protect gig workers, like Uber drivers, the ride-share company had to pay them minimum wage and other worker benefits if they could not determine the worker truly was an independent contractor.

The California gig-worker law forced added costs on the company.

The hope was that Uber Works would put more focus on the company’s technology of matching gig workers to local opportunities and reduce employee costs.

Where was Uber Works Available?

The company launched the platform in Chicago and opened opportunities for workers in Dallas just before the pandemic.

Uber Works planned to open the app to Miami workers but never had the opportunity because of the pandemic.

Before shutting down the app, Uber Works worked with the YWCA in Chicago to offer training and online classes for potential workers in the Chicago area.

How Did Uber Works Work?

vector graphic showing hand holding phone and a car with the Uber Works title and description below it

From the worker’s perspective, Uber Works offered an app that gave them local work opportunities.

Like Uber and Uber Eats, Uber Works matched opportunities with nearby workers who would receive a notification, then accept the opportunity, and go to work.

Before any workers could receive job notifications, they had to apply and be vetted through TalentBurst.

This outsourcing company managed all of the employee documents like I-9s and W-2s.

They ran the background checks and vetted employees.

The other outsourcing company, TrueBlue, created its own outsourcing company, PeopleWorks, to do the same onboarding tasks as TalentBurst.

Unfortunately, they never go to use the service to support Uber Works.

Update: Uber Works Shutdown During COVID-19

A few months after opening in Chicago, Uber Works shut down its operations in May 2020.

In the early days of the pandemic in 2020, workers stayed home, so no one needed Uber drivers.

As a result of the pandemic and shutdowns in major cities, the company also laid off 3,700 full-time employees.

The gig workers also lost out on their regular paychecks.

In June, Uber laid off 3,000 more employees as the shutdown continued.

Uber only offers four gig-work opportunities: Ridesharing, Uber Eats, Uber Freight, and Uber Business.

  • Uber Freight brings carriers and shippers together.
  • Uber Health helps businesses with various types of transportation needs, including international transportation, HIPAA-compliant rides, and moving business guests.

Wrapping Up

Uber Works offered a unique solution that benefited employers, gig workers, and Uber’s parent company for a short time.

The staffing app gave Uber a way to diversify its products to become more profitable after California enacted a law to protect gig workers.

By pairing two temp companies, TalentBurst and TrueBlue, workers could find local opportunities and receive same-day pay.

Typical staffing agencies never offer same-day pay and often require workers to wait several weeks before sending paychecks.

Uber Works took charge of employee forms and on-boarding complications by outsourcing I-9s, background checks, and vetting to TalentBurst.

These conveniences separated Uber Works from other staffing agencies that typically have complicated onboarding processes.

Unfortunately, Uber Works suffered a speedy demise thanks to the pandemic.

The parent company laid off over 6,000 workers in the course of a few weeks as the pandemic shut down cities, employers could easily take on temporary employees easily with no one needed rideshares or temporary workers.

Uber never reopened the staffing app and now only offers transportation solutions for individuals, freight companies, and businesses.

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