Unilever to shift its New Zealand office to a four-day workweek

It seems that the four-day workweek movement is finally getting some real traction, with global consumer goods giant Unilever becoming the latest major corporation to make an attempt at reshaping the future of work.

The company announced that beginning of next week, all of its New Zealand employees will be able to participate in a 12-months four-day workweek trial, where workers will be paid for five days while working just four.

As explained by Unilever New Zealand managing director Nick Bangs, the main premise behind the trial is to change the way work is done, and not to increase the working hours on four days.

“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,” he said.

After one year, the company will assess the outcome of the move and will try to figure out a way to implement it for the rest of its global workforce of 155,000 employees.

“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,” added Bangs.

The idea has gained momentum in New Zealand earlier this year when prime minister Jacinda Ardern encouraged firms to adopt four-day weeks to offer flexibility to their employees and help the economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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