Vassolo agreed and predicted that sharing economy businesses will increasingly come under scrutiny from the public. “The ability to effectively manage and navigate public opinion will become a vital skill for these companies.” According to Vassolo, that’s because “The rapid growth of these companies carries the risk of neglecting the ultimate wages of those who provide services on these platforms. One of the most sensitive issues will be ensuring compliance with minimum wage regulations.” He’s not the only one who believes that careful attention must be paid to the effects of sharing economy businesses.

Right now, there is an ongoing debate on whether gig workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors, with implications for workers’ benefits, safety, and job security. The Financial Times reported, “EU member states have reached a long-awaited agreement on rules that pave the way to give greater employment protection to the bloc’s 28mn gig economy workers.” Last month, an agreement was reached on industry rules allowing workers, such as Uber drivers and food delivery riders, to receive social security and other benefits in the future. The deal resolved long negotiations among the 27 member states that had been delaying the drafting of the legislation. And so, it is up to the leadership of sharing economy businesses to ensure that ethical concerns are addressed and adequate working conditions provided for their employees.

Despite the challenges, the future of the sharing economy looks promising. The post-pandemic world has further accelerated its growth as people become more accustomed to remote work, online transactions, and sustainable consumption. This is why, according to Terence Mauri—MIT’s entrepreneur mentor—“Now is the time to develop and master strategies for sustainable sharing economy business models.” Mauri said in an interview that “We’re standing on the precipice of a modern-day Cambrian explosion. Within the next 100 years, much of the global economy could look radically different from today’s world thanks to extreme disruption and distributed everything.”

And so, the sharing economy appears to be here to stay. It is up to its leaders and stakeholders to ensure that this new type of business model is implemented in a way that not only benefits its workers but also contributes meaningfully towards sustainable development. But, with the right policies and regulations, this could indeed become the case. Together, we can strive to create a more equitable and sustainable sharing economy that works for all of us. Let’s make it happen.