Debates surrounding the contributions that flexible working and zero hours contracts have on the economy have continued since we originally wrote about this topic in 2014. At that time, the Unite union estimated up to 5.5 million workers were on them, with no guarantee of work yet allowing employers to hire staff with total flexibility over when they could work without providing a specific commitment.

So what’s a “Zero Hour Contract?”
Zero-hours contracts allow companies to employ workers for as few or as many hours as they need, rather than fixed hours on a set basis. 1.4m jobs were based on these contracts in January 2014, according to an ONS survey that looked at 5,000 employers in the UK.

The flexibility that these contracts offer certainly do suit some workers and can be used for second jobs, which gives the employee the chance to work the second job around their family commitments, for example. According to one survey, 47% of those employed on zero-hours contracts were content to have no minimum contracted hours. The main demographic of this sample were those who are content with a little extra income where the consideration of job security isn’t a primary factor but where flexibility is paramount to their personal circumstances.

But what about the remaining percentage who are unhappy with these conditions? The continuing returning health of the economy will not necessarily cause zero-hours contracts to disappear as there still are some workers that prefer the flexibility they provide. However, employers need to ensure that their best assets (staff) are not only content and happy to be on a zero hours contract, but they are treated the same and have exactly the same benefits as permanent and fixed hour employees. At the same time, employees that have previously enjoyed the flexibility of zero hours contracts may well find it is time to be at least guaranteed a set number of hours on a set basis.

VST Stance
At Virtual Sales Team, not only do we offer our calling team minimum hours contracts, but we also offer flexible working and allow them to flex these contracts up during term time for example, and back down again to their minimum hours over school holidays. All of our employees are entitled to the same benefits, which include flexible hours, basic health and dental health and optical cover after they have been working for us for over 6 months.

To ensure we keep company morale high and promote good interoffice relationships, the company holds a family barbecue every Summer and a Christmas party each year, both of which are funded by VST. We certainly have a family friendly culture as we feel strongly that the security provided to team members by minimum hours provides staff with a stronger sense of belonging to our positive and inclusive culture. Ultimately having a happier, more contented workforce generally leads to an enhanced relationship for both parties!

Part of our ethos is to ensure that our employees feel valued – staff retention is at the heart of the success of any business and we are proud to have an industry leading employee retention rate of 93%

So if you are returning to work, looking for a job that offers flexible working hours, or are just interested in seeing what’s out there in the future, please get in touch. If you have solid work experience and have that little bit extra about you to manage conversations with decision makers without using a script, then find out more about how flexible working at VST can work for you.