Technology helps to balance the power of zero hours contracts

The revelation that nearly 1 million people in the UK are working under zero hours contracts has brought questions of exploitation and ethics. But technological developments could help to give staff a little more control…   In a recent BBC article, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23570345 Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said: “The vast majority of workers are only on these contracts because they have no choice. They may give flexibility to a few, but the balance of power favours the employers and makes it hard for workers to complain.”

Zero hours contracts do however offer the opportunity for flexibility in industries where changes to the working environment are often unplanned and occur at short notice. In these occasions, technology could help to balance out the power for both the employee and the employer by allowing workers to select hours which suit them.

Many organisations that use the Webroster.net workforce management system employ staff on zero hours contracts. However, staff can be given more control and choice by empowering them to add their own availability via an online portal and allowing them to accept or decline work in one simple click.

Online portals give staff instant access to their working schedule, payroll information and more importantly, allows them to add to their existing availability.

Staff can pre-define when they are available to work and therefore automatically be considered for any requirements which arise. Not only does this give them a choice of when they want to work but also enables the staff member to be in control of their availability and add it at a moment’s notice, meaning that they could be considered for any additional or last minute work that needs to be done.

In addition to this, staff have the chance to accept jobs at times and locations that suit them best, therefore reducing the burden on employers and offering optimum flexibility for the workforce.

The online workforce management system helps to assign work to staff on any type of contract and helps to ensure that staff are given the correct number of hours work each week, in the location which suits them and to the jobs they have the skills to carry out.

So for employers who are concerned about the ethics of employing staff on zero hours contracts, but need to do so to suit your business needs, why not consider technology and the internet to give staff a little more control.