Subscribe to Eastworld for weekly insight on what's dominating business in Asia, delivered free to your inbox. "But we have learned a lot during (the time of the pandemic) from COVID-19 and the flexibility of people who work from home, the productivity that has resulted", He comments Will burn.
Unilever is offering its New Zealand staff a four-day working week at their normal full pay.
The trial will begin this month and last until December 2021, with staff still receiving the same salaries even though they will be working for one day less per week.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in May raised the prospect of moving the country to a four-day week to help kickstart New Zealand's post-lockdown economy.
"Participating Unilever New Zealand employees will keep their wages at 100% while working 80% of the time", Indicated the company, underlining that workers will have flexibility to determine " when and how they will work best within the new structure".
Bangs said the decision to try a four-day week was influenced by entrepreneur Andrew Barnes, who trialled the four-day working week in his Kiwi trustee business Perpetual Guardian in 2018, before going on to become a global promoter of it. The trial gained global attention, and the company's founder said there was "no downside" to the shortened week.
Unilever's Bangs said the company "drew inspiration" from Perpetual Guardian for the shortened work week.
A four-day work week has been shown to do wonders for some offices that have made the switch.
Unilever said the employees will be paid for five days while working for just four days.
Labor activists and environmentalists have advocated for four-day weeks on the grounds that they benefit workers and reduce emissions.
Barnes said the four-day week could help improve mental health and the environment by reducing the need to commute.
According to a global survey of almost 3,000 employees by The Workforce Institute at HR software provider Kronos, 78% of full-time workers said it would take less than seven hours each day to do their job if they could work uninterrupted, with 45% saying their job should take less than five hours per day.
Bangs said the company wants to change how work is done, and avoid a situation where employees work longer hours to make up for the shorter week, which he said would "miss the point" of the experiment.
According to Reuters, the consumer goods giant employs 81 people in the country across sales, distribution and marketing, and all of them will have the option to take part in a year-long trial of this new working arrangement. Unilever will collaborate with the Business School of the University of Technology (UTS) of Sidney in evaluating the qualitative results of the experiment.
Commentary: There's a third way to minimize COVID exposure besides masks and distancing.