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Udo: The app that manages your on-the-go staff for you

Need an app to manage on-the-go staff and handle the pressures of the gig economy? There's a Kiwi creation that can help - and it even has a catchy name. Meet Udo.

Be honest: how many of your employees are ever actually in one place all the time, or actually full-time? Odds are, not many.

And let's also be honest about something else: managing those employees can be a royal pain. Wouldn't it be great if there was, well, an app to take care of that?

Guess what: there is.

Auckland-based UDO Limited has launched the first mobile app to manage flexible working hours for employees in New Zealand. Known as FLEXiU, it was developed in response changes in New Zealand’s labour market over the last three decades – and the fact that the so-called “gig economy” is continuing to expand.

There’s hard data to back this. A recent MBIE National Survey of Employers of the two million paid employees in New Zealand found that the percentage of “Non-Standard Working Arrangements” has increased to 96,800 casual employees (making up 4.9 percent of the country’s total workforce) and 59,000 (3 percent) fixed-term employees.

The brainchild of Rachael Turnage and Debajeet Baruah, FLEXiU helps plan, work and manage the various needs of employees and employers. Turnage certainly thinks the app has the potential to transform how employers and potential employees connect with each other. “No matter where staff are – whether they are out on-site, working from home, in a meeting or in the office, the one thing we always have on us is our mobile phones,” she explains. “It just made good sense to develop an app that helps users find out staff availability and whereabouts.”

Rachael Turnage.

Carol Brown, CEO of Diversitas, also sees a growing demand for flexible work. “Regardless of age, ethnicity, skill set or industry, the common denominator is the desire for organisations to design work that is more agile,” says Brown. “If we can get this right, we can tap into a much wider pool of talent – a quantum leap ahead for New Zealand which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our economy.”

Brown says that the biggest challenge for employers is understanding their rights and obligations, complying with Health and Safety regulations, and having the right tools to manage flexible work.

The app also goes far beyond just recruiting people. It triggers an alert if an organisation is below the required quota for potential first aid responders or fire wardens. In the event of an emergency, the app will also make it easier for the fire warden to account for staff whereabouts.

“We want to keep staff safe whether they are working on-site, doing flexible hours within an office environment – the app tracks this and covers an organisations responsibilities day-to-day and in the event that a crisis should occur,” Turnage explains.

Baruah says he believes the app will have benefits to more than one industry. “I see this being useful for managing employees of any large organisation – particularly those managing multiple sites like in the construction industry, shift workers in the medical industry. Anywhere where it would be helpful to know who’s available, managing a shift or acting at that go-to person that day.”