Prime Minister of New Zealand Ardern announces “4-day week” to help economy after coronavirus

Prime Minister of New Zealand Ardern announces "4-day week" to help economy after coronavirus
In one Live video on Facebook released earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shared the suggestion while discussing ways to boost domestic tourism in her country. In recent months, the coronavirus crisis has forced people around the world to lock and global travel demand decimated.

“I have had a lot of people suggesting that we should have a four day week. In the end, it really is between employers and employees,” said Ardern.

However, the idea has merit in that it could give domestic travelers “flexibility in terms of travel and leave,” she added. Ardern noted that 60% of New Zealand’s tourism industry comes from the local population.

“There are a lot of things we have learned about Covid and just the flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be gained from it,” she said.

The Prime Minister encouraged employers to consider allowing more flexible working hours – including remote working and planning longer hours on fewer days – if possible, “as this would certainly help tourism across the board. country”.

Four-day work weeks have become more popular recently, as employers are investigating whether a tighter schedule can increase productivity.

The New Zealand government is no stranger to the idea of ​​another work schedule. Since 2018, several government agencies have sign pilot a program called “flexible working by default”, which encourages employers to give their workers more freedom in various ways.
While it is up to each participating organization to decide what this arrangement will look like, the government has outlined several possibilities … including allowing people to adopt shorter work weeks, “like 40 hours over four days or a fortnight of nine days”.
In 2018, New Zealand-based Perpetual Guardian, which helps clients manage their wills and estates, also held a two-month trial of the concept. The firm said it was so successful wanted to make it permanent.

By working only four days a week, employees all reported higher productivity, better work-life balance and reduced stress, according to the company, which had approximately 240 employees.

“It was just a theory, something I thought I wanted to try because I wanted to create a better environment for my team,” said founder Andrew Barnes. told CNN Business at the time. “They have gone beyond my wildest dreams.”
Everywhere else, big companies are starting to jump on the bandwagon. Last year, Microsoft ((MSFT) took up the idea as the company team in Japan experimented by closing its offices every Friday in August and giving all employees an extra day off each week.

The results are promising: while the time spent at work has been considerably reduced, productivity – measured by sales per employee – has increased by almost 40% compared to the same period of the previous year, the company said. .

As a result, Microsoft has announced that it will continue another experiment in Japan and has also asked other companies to join the initiative.


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