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Unilever Plans To Test Four-Day Week For All New Zealand Staff

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Unilever Plans To Test Four-Day Week For All New Zealand Staff

Global multinational company Unilever has announced plans to move every member of its staff in New Zealand onto a four-day working week to see how that goes.

The announcement earlier on Tuesday means that the 81 staff - OK, that's not that many people, but it's a good trial number - will be able to participate in the trial and see how a shorter working week affects them and their productivity.

The proposed trial will start next week and run for 12 whole months until this time next year. It will see the employees paid for their full five-day week, although they'll only have to turn in for the four days.

Not a bad deal all around, provided that everyone keeps the deal sweet.

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The aim, according to Unilever New Zealand's managing director Nick Bangs, is to assess how the change works with regards to the way that work is done, rather than asking employees to pull longer shifts for fewer days.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

He argued: "If we end up in a situation where the team is working four extended days then we miss the point of this,

"We don't want our team to have really long days, but to bring material change in the way they work."

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If this trial period is a success, Unilever says it will have a look at whether it is worth throwing the scheme out to its 155,000 employees around the rest of the world.

Bangs continued: "It's very much an experiment. We have made no commitments beyond 12 months and beyond New Zealand. But we think there will be some good learning we can gather in this time."

So, Unilever's operations in New Zealand don't include any manufacturing, but all of its employees there are in sales, distribution and marketing.

It could be difficult for some workers - such as those in journalism, perhaps - to blag a four-day working week out of their employers.

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Either way, it's an idea that's fast gaining traction in New Zealand, at least.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The country's prime minister Jacinda Ardern recently encouraged firms to have a look into it in order to offer increased flexibility during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bangs added: "When the prime minister talked about it in the context of what the future of work would look like, that was encouragement for us,"

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That being said, the government hasn't actually employed the tactic in any of its offices yet.

We'll have to see how this latest experiment goes before we start planning those three-day weekends.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: New Zealand, World News, Interesting

Tom Wood
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