In a bid to enhance the quality of life of employees and provide a boost in both the company’s productivity and the national economy, FMCG giant Unilever is set to trial a four-day workweek in New Zealand, starting from December.
Managing Director of Unilever-New Zealand Mike Bangs described the old system of working as ‘outdated’ and stressed that the company is seeking to measure the performance of their employees based on their output rather than the time they spent working.
Ever since Unilever ceased manufacturing operations in the country in 2015, the bulk of the staff works in Auckland at the headquarters and distribution center. Starting from Tuesday, 1st December, all of the company’s 81 employees will be entitled to conform to this abridged work schedule. In conversation with the Financial Times, Bangs conveyed that he was “very conscious” of the struggles associated with applying this experiment to manufacturing units.
Bangs detailed the pillars of this change as, “Maintaining competitive edge, increasing productivity, and improving well-being.’ in a statement made to Bloomberg. This move comes after months of the global coronavirus pandemic have redefined work culture and standard practices have been seen as opportunities to try something new.
That is very much the spirit of the multinational’s move, structuring it as a trial which will run for a period of one year. During this time, Unilever will work in tandem with University of Technology, Business School, Sydney to measure the results and draw inferences on what a move like this could do on a global scale for the company’s 150,000 employees worldwide. Currently restricted to staff in New Zealand, this trial could result in changes being made on a much larger scale.