Employers introduce new ways of working

Employers are increasingly adapting work practices in today’s connected world to attract and retain talent

The skills shortage has affected employers across all sectors for some time now, which means staff retention is now more important than ever.

Recently-released figures highlight the importance of looking after and valuing staff in order to keep them. Seek NZ employment report figures show 67 percent of employees would consider relocating to another region for work, while Statistics NZ migration numbers saw almost 11,000 more people leave the country than arrive in the year ending May.

In Wellington a number of workplaces are moving from fixed working patterns to highly flexible ones, introducing the likes of reduced hours and nine-day fortnights, to empower employees and give them a better work-life balance.

Haunt staff make the most of summer

Web development agency Haunt Digital is one Wellington firm that is innovative in its approach – six-hour work days in the summer months.

“We introduced summer hours as part of our wider employee experience programme, the underlying thinking was pretty simple - we wanted our team to be able to make the most of summer and to get out and about in the afternoons,” says co-owner and chief executive Tim Grubb.

“We’ve done it for the last three summers and the staff love it, who wouldn’t!”

Senior developer Jess Syder says the summer hours have impacted positively on her mental health.

“Our work-life balance is so valuable and important to me, and summer hours have really emphasised that.

“It’s given me the opportunity to learn new things, such as growing my own veggie garden and getting creative with healthy cooking, as well as being able to get out and about more to enjoy the warm weather with my family.”

As a business the reduced summer hours mean cutbacks on non-essential work, including training and unnecessary meetings, says Tim.

In fact, Haunt Digital has recently gone fully remote with staff scattered all over the country.

“We still have an office here and we get together in Wellington a few times a year, Wellington is still our base but things have become really… well.. flexible!”

We’re pretty flexible anyway, and we're more focussed on output than bums-in-seats.

CE Haunt Digital, Tim Grubbs

Flexible working gives employees work-life balance

Creative HQ, a subsidiary of WellingtonNZ, is New Zealand’s leading provider of structured innovation programmes for start-ups, corporates and Government. It has holistically reviewed its approach to flex working too.

As a result, it has co-designed an experiment dubbed “the gift of the tenth” with its team and introduced a nine-day fortnight that has been in place since July.

“We knew the pandemic had shifted the employment relationship – employees globally were considering everything from who they worked for, to the role they expected their employers to play in purpose and values," says Creative HQ’s people and practice general manager Ruth Young.

“Some of our people had enjoyed the increased flexibility of working remotely resulting in greater work-life balance (both time and cost) and greater connection to whānau and community, while some missed the connection and working in the office.

“We needed our team to return to the office three days in a week, so in exchange, we’d pay them for 10 days in a fortnight but they work for nine – it felt like a valued trade and our entire team of 32 have opted in. It has been well-received.”

It’s an important initiative that also reinforces Creative HQ's values of changing the game, diving into the deep, connecting and creating, and stretching minds, says Ruth.

“We knew we needed to consider a new future at work that remained in service to our strategy.

“We value the serendipitous in-person exchanges that build connection, collaboration and innovation across our team," says Ruth.

"And we strive to create a culture that balances working together with working flexibly in a way that does no harm to Creative HQ or our people.”

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