Jacinda Ardern has suggested New Zealand businesses could trial a four-day work week as a strategy to help rebuild domestic tourism and the economy as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
In a Facebook live video on Wednesday, Ardern made some informal comments around increasing people’s ability to travel domestically to tourism hubs, as well as addressing work/life balance issues.
With international borders remaining closed for the foreseeable future, Ardern said it was important New Zealanders are supported to travel around the country.
“I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day work week. Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees,” Arden said. “But as I’ve said there’s just so much we’ve learnt about COVID and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that.”
“I’d really encourage people to think about that if you’re an employer and in a position to do so.”
“To think about whether or not that’s something that would work for your workplace because it certainly would help tourism all around the county.”
In the video, Ardern said 60 per cent of New Zealand’s tourism industry is supported by domestic tourism.
“That’s New Zealanders going out and experiencing their own backyard. But, interestingly, New Zealanders also spend about $9 billion on international travel.”
This creates a perfect opportunity for New Zealanders, who are presently unable to travel overseas, to help support domestic tourism and reconsider their work/life balance.
Earlier this year, before the pandemic took hold, Women’s Agenda reported on recruitment specialist firm Beaumont People, who publicly trialed a four-day work week for their staff. The move followed similar, more high-profile trials overseas by Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand, as well as Microsoft Japan.
“Our purpose is to connect people to organisations that empower them to do meaningful work and create more opportunities for meaningful work in Australia, ” founder and CEO of Beaumont People Nikki Beaumont told Women’s Agenda at the time.
“To do so, we must look at our own policies and employee benefits first, so that our own learnings can inspire, educate and help others provide better opportunities for employees while positively impacting overall business performance and the future of work as a whole.”