There's now a phone app called Shiftr that you can use to swap shifts with co-workers
Casual work can be a bane or a boon.
Employers like it because it saves money and provides that much-desired flexibility.
Some employees also like the flexibility, but others would readily forego that for the stability of regular working hours and a stable income.
A particular problem with casual work is that some employers take the attitude that casuals should work whatever hours they are offered, and when they don't the simplest solution is to completely stop offering them shifts and find a more compliant replacement.
This is a workable - if ethically questionable - approach for low-skill jobs or when there's an oversupply of workers with the required skills.
But there's also a tradition of swapping shifts with colleagues. If Alan can't work his usual Tuesday afternoon shift due to a hospital appointment, he might swap with Barbara who normally works on Wednesdays. Or perhaps Christine wants to go to a concert on Thursday night rather than than working as usual, but David's willing to swap for Saturday night that week.
This sort of thing usually occurs with the general agreement of the employer, but he will generally want to produce a roster and then leave it to the staff to work out any shift swaps among themselves. Telling the boss that you don't want your regular shift means you're presenting her with a problem rather than a solution.
We live so much of our lives through our mobile phones, why not apply them to shift swapping?
That idea occurred to Shiftr, which has developed iOS and Android apps to make it easy to swap shifts with co-workers.
Not only did the Shiftr team think it was a good idea, the business has just been shortlisted by the Optus-Innov8 Seed Program and will pitch to a panel of tech investors next week.
This sounds like an excellent idea to us, as a purpose-built app avoids the shortcomings and inconvenience of trying to do the via a noticeboard (not much use for changes at short notice), phone or SMS (too time consuming, and do you really want to give your number to all of your colleagues?), or social networking (poor signal to noise ratio).
A smart move on Shiftr's part was to make provision for managers that want to approve shift swaps.
If you own or manage a business that uses casual staff, would you be happy if they used Shiftr to save you the trouble of finding a replacement when someone can't work a shift? Add your comment below.