Instacart to hire 300,000 workers to meet COVID-19 related demand

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Grocery delivery service Instacart announced it would be hiring 300,000 new “full-service shoppers” to meet COVID-19 prompted demand on Tuesday. The company also revealed it would be instituting policy changes to aid its independent contractor workforce. In doing so, the company becomes the latest technology company to adjust its operations in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instacart’s Coronavirus-Related Changes

Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta issued a statement outlining the latest developments regarding his company. The executive explained his organization would hire 300,000 people in the next three months to meet surging demand in North America. CNN notes the service has been particularly taxed by increased ordering in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

As a result of its headcount expansion, Instacart will double its workforce of full-service independent contractors.

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In the last week, California and New York officials have ordered residents to stay in their homes except for essential trips and services. Because of similar lockdown orders and anxiety about catching COVID-19, many consumers have taken to ordering in. Consequently, online stores and delivery services have been hit with unprecedented amounts of traffic.

Instacart has also revealed it will offer paid sick leave for its full-service shoppers. The company is providing its full-service workers with 14 days of extended pay if they are quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19.

Besides, the grocery delivery service is now giving consumers the ability to have their orders dropped off at their doorsteps. By doing so, the company’s effectively made its deliveries contactless to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

How Other Online Delivery/Transport Services are Handling COVID-19

Instacart is far from the only online delivery or transportation service to make changes in relation to COVID-19.

Amazon plans to hire 100,000 new logistics workers to supplement its U.S. transportation infrastructure. The e-commerce giant moved to expand its headcount because of a significant increase in orders for groceries and household essentials. As the coronavirus pandemic has become more widespread, the platform has experienced severe product shortages and delivery delays.

Amazon also sought to reward its existing global logistics staffers by giving them a $2 raise through April.

The COVID-19 outbreak has also had a big impact on ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. Both firms suspended their carpool service to mitigate the spread of the respiratory illness. The Silicon Valley-based personal transportation firms also announced their drivers would receive up to 14 days of sick leave if they are quarantined or diagnosed with coronavirus infection.

In addition, Lyft expanded its services to deliver critically needed medical supplies to at-risk populations and food to students who ordinarily receive subsidized lunches.

The nascent meal delivery sector has also shaken things up in response to COVID-19. DoorDash has suspended commissions for its partner restaurants to bolster their revenues during the pandemic. Also, the firm, as well as its competitors Seamless, Grubhub, and PostMates, now provide consumers with contactless delivery options.

Earlier this month, The Burn-In highlighted the plight of gig economy workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Across the world, independent drivers and delivery personnel are putting themselves in harm’s way. As such, it’s nice to see some of the biggest companies operating in that space taking steps to protect and support their staffers.

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