On-location worker-initiated moderately skilled work

06 September 2018

Platform work is a form of employment that uses an online platform to enable organisations or individuals to access other organisations or individuals to solve problems or to provide services in exchange for payment. Eurofound identified 10 different types of platform work prevalent in Europe as of 2017. Three of the 10 types were covered in an in-depth study of working and employment conditions. These, together with two additional ones, are also discussed in a policy brief highlighting the key issues arising in platform work as well as first solutions to tackle them.

On-location worker-initiated moderately skilled work refers to low- to medium-skilled work where tasks are selected and delivered on-location by the worker. The ability to choose their own assignments provides these workers with flexibility, which is considered a major benefit of platform work. At the same time, the significant disadvantages of uncertainty and dependence on the platform for work are reduced. Well-known examples include repair and maintenance services such as organised through MyBuilder, Supermano or Werkspot, and cleaning services such as Helpling or Book a Tiger.


Overview of the characteristics that constitute on-location worker-initiated work

Source: Eurofound 2018

Format of service provision

Format of service provision refers to whether the work is performed online or offline (on-location). As the label suggests, on-location worker-initiated work denotes local services that are organised through the online platform, but delivered in specific locations. For example, when a client arranges cleaning services through an online platform, the cleaner delivers it in person.

Form of matching

The process of allowing clients and workers to find each other is the main issue for platforms. Platforms are highly invested in optimising the matching process, as the more smoothly clients are matched to workers, the more reason they will have to stay exclusively on one platform, instead of using a different platform or exiting the market. In on-location worker-initiated work, matching is done through ‘offer’. Workers have profiles on the platform, on which they list experience, skills and which also shows their aggregated reviews or ratings. Clients can specify or search for a task and are presented with candidates who match the skillset required. Procurement here is often based on a bidding process.


Selection can be made by the client, worker, or the platform. In worker-initiated work, the worker selects and decides matching tasks and clients. The worker-initiated type of platform works sees no negative repercussions for a performance review when a worker refuses certain tasks.

Scale of tasks

Platform work can involve tasks on a wide ranging scale of duration and complexity. There may be large, long-term projects, as well as the characteristic whittled down micro tasks. On-location worker-initiated work can involve medium as well as larger scale tasks, for example from trimming the garden for a few hours, to a larger project of constructing a patio that may take several days. In this case, client and worker may engage in a longer-term relationship and the remuneration for long-term services is more likely to approach market compensation. Furthermore, it requires more information exchange and trust between client and worker.

Skills level

A given task may require low, medium, or high skills. This refers to the traded tasks and not necessarily to the skills that the workers possess, since it is not uncommon that highly educated individuals carry out simple tasks through platforms. Worker-initiated moderately skilled work can range from low-medium skills to higher skills. For example, among low skill activities are manual tasks and tasks that may be performed by anyone without requiring specific know-how or prior instruction or may involve short, repetitive routine tasks. Cleaning services would fall in this category. However, some worker-initiated platform work requires high skills levels, such as professional or specialist activities, for example, construction or plumbing.

Selected working condition for on-location worker-initiated work

Overview of selected working conditions in on-location worker-initiated moderately skilled work


On-location worker-initiated work



Autonomy and control


Work intensity and working time quality

Physical environment

Social environment

Career development and prospects

Autonomy involves the freedom of workers to choose which tasks they do, when they work, and how to organise and perform their work. People in on-location worker-initiated have much control in deciding when and how they work. Monitoring by the platform is limited. However, this type of work might be subject to strict requirements and stringently monitored by the clients. Depending on the individual platform, the client’s rating of the performance of the worker can also be critical for their access to further tasks.

For platform work that takes place on-location, risks for workers can include harassment, accidents and exposure to chemicals (such as cleaning products). Certain risks are exacerbated by the nature of platform work, which is less likely to provide health and safety training than traditional jobs.

There are some positive indications that on-location worker-initiated work can provide predictable earnings since workers can set their own rates and largely determine their own working time. Furthermore, In contrast, workers may use the experience they gain through platform work to build their business contacts or their portfolio to start or enhance a self-employed or freelance activity.

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