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This hiring start-up is giving employers a way to tackle the notorious Australia Day sickies with ‘Uber-like’ technology

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Tim Nieuwenhuis

Employers be warned: January 27 is shaping up to be 2017’s perfect storm for the biggest single day ‘to chuck a sickie’; contributing a large chunk to Australia’s annual payroll and lost productivity cost of $32.5 billion.

“Like it or not, many people consider it to be un-Australian not to chuck a few illegitimate sickies, regardless of whether you’re in labour hire, hospitality or work in an office, January 27 will be a day employers must plan for,” said workplace relations expert and CEO of Workfast, Tim Nieuwenhuis.

“Not only is this day wedged between the Australia Day (Thursday) and a regular weekend, January’s beautiful weather, coupled with too much partying on Thursday, means employers will have their own headache to contend with as they struggle to keep their businesses running at optimal levels.”

How to tackle productivity loss

Regardless of whether employees are genuinely sick or not, Nieuwenhuis asserts business owners need an action plan for temp and casual workers to safeguard them from productivity loss.

“Employee absenteeism is now said to be at 9.5 days per employee per annum, and this is costing employers on average $3,608 per worker per annum.  The impact to the workplace is much greater than the actual financial cost of wages – it affects sales, places unnecessary stress on your remaining staff and customer service is also compromised.

“The issue is what to do when an employee rings in sick.  You could call a traditional temp agency to get a casual worker in for the day, but this is both costly and time consuming for the already stressed out business owner/manager.”

What exactly does Workfast do?

Nieuwenhuis’ frustration led him to develop a solution that would disrupt the labour hire and temp agency model in Australia and make hiring casual staff more affordable and efficient for business owners.

“Workfast uses on-demand technology to slash casual worker costs by 30%. Our Australian-developed technology has allowed us to streamline the entire temp agency process; our margins are low and our efficiencies are very high. The whole hiring process can now be done in less than 15 minutes, and the person could be in your business by 9 am. Now it’s as easy to employ a qualified casual worker as it is to hire an Uber!”

While Workfast is growing rapidly and is already represented in each state, the company may not be able to assist every business needing staff for January 27. Tim Nieuwenhuis suggests these tips to safeguard employers from January 27’s perfect storm:

  • Communicate with staff early in the week [“I’m looking forward to seeing you on the 27th”]
  • Request medical certificates for absenteeism
  • Close up shop on the 27th January, or recommend employees take the day off as annual leave so employers can prepare in advance for staffing shortfalls
  • Register for Workfast as an employer/employee.

Workfast, which launched 5 months ago across Australia, has already achieved $800,000 in sales.  The company provides staffing in the fields of labour hire, building and construction, admin and office, promotion and events, sales and general services. “All Workfast employees and contractors are guaranteed – if they’re not right for the job, you don’t pay – just cancel within two hours and it’s free. Our ultimate goal is to help you reduce costs and increase productivity,” concluded Tim Nieuwenhuis

Workfast is available currently as a web app at Workfast.com.au and will very soon be available to download on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

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