Christchurch-based Workable.app is a business-to-business platform enabling collaborative and flexible working arrangements to meet varying demand.
Eight years ago, Workable.app co founder Peter Dalman set up a painting and decorating company in Christchurch. Over the years, he continued to run into the same problem: finding help when he needed it.
A cycle of ‘peaks and troughs,’ or busy and quiet periods, is standard for many businesses, and it makes having the right amount of staff at all times difficult.
“The busy times are crazy. You’ve got all these jobs and all these deadlines. You don’t know what you’re going to do, and it becomes very stressful. Two weeks later, you might be quiet with not enough work, and that is also really stressful,” Dalman explains.
In the past, Dalman found it challenging to get quality temporary help quickly. So, he began to envision an app that could provide a solution.
In 2019, Dalman met Brett O’Donnell at a high-growth course run by ChristchurchNZ.
O’Donnell is the CEO of Web Tools, a software development company. Dalman pitched his idea to O’Donnell, who said he had had a similar idea a year ago. The two decided to team up, and together, they founded Workable.app.
Workable.app is a platform that connects businesses with each other as a way to get through busy and quiet periods. The app works in two ways. First, a business owner can create profiles for their employees to work at other businesses rather than having to make employees redundant when business is slow. Dalman says it embraces a more collaborative approach to business, one where companies help each other out.
The platform also connects contractors to businesses that need help without needing an intermediary. The contractor creates a profile that makes them discoverable by employers.
To set up a profile, users set their industry, location, and availability. Contractors can upload references, certificates, qualifications, training, insurance, and photos of previous jobs.
When it comes to businesses ‘sharing’ their employees, Workable.app’s Marketing Manager Olivia Sullivan says that it’s a conversation an employer has with their employees. Employers ask staff members if they mind being on the app when business is slow.
From there, it’s up to the companies involved to come up with an arrangement that works for them. All negotiations and payments happen outside of the app.
Although Workable.app’s development slowed down with COVID-19, Dalman says that the setbacks served the company in hindsight.
“COVID was a bit of an impetus to get our ‘A’s into G’ because of all the pain it’s causing businesses,” says Dalman, “We felt like this would be a really good way to help businesses recover.”
The team softly launched Workable.app in June and brought on board painting companies. Since then, the platform has expanded into IT. Dalman and his team plan on including a more comprehensive range of industries, such as hospitality and tourism, early next year.
Today, the Workable.app team works to get their name out there and sign up as many people as they can to the platform. So far, Christchurch contractors are ‘snatched up’ quickly, but with more users, Dalman says that Workable.app will really start to provide value.
To further support business in the COVID-recovery, Workable.app will remain free for the foreseeable future.