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Lesley's Column

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29th February 2016

The sharing economy’s relentless rise

The sharing economy – I get it, I really do, I’m just not sure if it’s because I’m Generation X or my predisposition to control that makes it seem, well, just a little bit wrong.

The sharing economy started as an internet-based barter system, usually for adventurous young people with a desire for sharing experiences and costs.

But now that we’ve all got smartphones in our hands, the scope of sharing economy has broadened exponentially and is increasingly taking over the business travel sector.

Now that ‘sharing’ apps – unlike their earlier iterations – involve direct payment, businesses are partnering up with sharing apps and cashing in.

Lyft and HotelTonight, for example, have paired with expense reporting app Concur to make their services ultra-easy for business travellers to use. And Uber’s got a slew of business travel-related partnerships.

There is risk involved in the sharing economy and businesses are responsible for protecting their employees, so it’s a difficult one.

Savings can be made by teams sharing a house to work but, frankly, I think that is fraught with potential issues.

I don’t think I would want to share a house with my boss, nor would I want co-workers to get a view into my personal life. Not to mention issues with safety and security.

It will be interesting to see what happens now that a format originally intended to share is becoming the next big market.