Unilever experiments with 4-day work week in New Zealand

While Unilever, New Zealand is already trying out the 4-day work week w.e.f from December 2020, Spain is planning to give incentives to companies who adopt this model


The Spanish government plans to give incentives or government grants to companies across Spain that adopt the four-day work week without any impact on the employees’ salaries. Keeping the wellbeing of its staff in mind, Unilever, the multinational consumer goods company in New Zealand is already trying out a four-day work week. The system is expected to increase productivity even while ensuring employee satisfaction.

When Japan had tried out the 32-hour week last year, by letting employees take Friday off, it actually reported a 40 per cent increase in productivity.

Due to the imposed remote working during the pandemic this year, companies across the world seem to have realised that employees are more productive while working from home. Therefore, more organisations are now willing to explore the 32-hour work week.

Nick Bangs, MD, Unilever, New Zealand, believes that it is the performance and output that matters and not the time invested in the work. Therefore, starting December 2020, all 81 employees at the Company’s headquarters in Auckland, will follow a four-day week, for a whole year, and receive full pay. In other words, even though they will be working only 80 per cent of their time, they will be paid for 100 per cent of their time. Though the Company has about 150,000 employees globally, this arrangement will be followed only by the staff in New Zealand for starters.

The trial is being undertaken in collaboration with the University of Technology Business School, Sydney, that will measure the results at the end of a year.

Prime Minister Jacind Ardern had suggested a four-day work week for the country, about seven months ago, in a bid to give a boost to the economy after the pandemic-induced lockdown had brought it to a halt.

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