summer hours brings the sunshine to work.

by Katherine Swan, Country Director 

Now the holiday period is over, much of New Zealand’s workforce has been packing away the camping gear and shifting out of holiday mode and back into a work mindset. That’s hard to do when the sun is shining and the weather is hitting 30 degrees. Many of us are desperate to get back out there to make the most of summer with family and friends.

With this in mind, I was excited to see Vodafone announce the launch of their ‘Summer Hours’ programme. No doubt, to the delight of their people too.

a smooth start to the year

Some have called Vodafone’s announcement, “clever marketing”. But it is so much more. Vodafone is clearly demonstrating that they are considering what’s important to existing staff, while showing that it’s a great place to work in terms of recognising the importance of work-life balance. 

This summer-time policy is a move to attract and retain the best and brightest talent New Zealand has to offer. 

finding your flex

At Randstad we believe that workers should be supported in finding a sustainable life balance so it’s great to see New Zealand businesses, like Vodafone, finding innovative ways to offer this.  Our research shows that employees rank work-life balance – or lack of it – as their #2 reason for leaving a company. What’s more, many believe that the customer experience begins with the employee journey.  Happy employees also mean happy customers, which has to be good for business.

Of course, when it comes to flexible working, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all approach. Different people have different needs in their personal lives which impacts on their flex working requirements.  

While work-life balance is close to the top of the list for Kiwi workers in terms of importance within a job role, our employer brand research in 2019 indicated that there is some disconnect between what employees want and what employers offer. 

So, what should you do if you’re in a role you love but just need a little more balance between work and personal?

When you present your case you must make sure you’re speaking your manager’s language – what’s in it for them, why should they give you a flexible arrangement?

You may also find it worthwhile to enlist support or input from others in the organisation, such as your human resources team.

The most important thing is clear communication from both sides of the table in order to reach an agreement that works for both the employee and employer.

walk the talk

Ultimately, for flexible arrangements to work, the leadership of the organisation has to be seen to embrace it themselves. This creates psychological safety for employees – if they see their leadership leaving early or working by remote from time to time then they know it’s OK to do it too.

At Randstad, we take on feedback from staff and continually review our own work-life balance practises. These include but are not limited to work from home days, spontaneous flexibility to assist with balancing personal commitments and flexible working.  As with all companies, we don’t take a one-size-fits all approach and it’s a constantly moving feast – what worked last year won’t necessarily work in coming years but we can all benefit from looking at what’s happening in the market, seeing what has worked and sharing ideas. 

We would all love a little more time to enjoy the glorious summer weather and that goes for the leadership team too!  So put your best foot forward and scratch that ‘itch’ by talking to your manager and HR about how you can improve work-life balance inside your organisation.  Remember, the most successful flexible working policies are those that are embraced by the leadership team and deliver a win-win for employees and management.