Kiwi company giving staff Friday afternoons off

Odom, of Brighton, lean against each other to sunbathe while their son Thomas (3) plays on the...
For non-rostered staff, the afternoon off could mean a chance to hit the beach. Photo: ODT files
Vodafone NZ is giving its 2000 or so staff the chance to head home early for the weekend for the rest of summer.

A "summer hours" programme, starting this week and running until the end of February, will let people finish work from 2pm onwards on Friday afternoons.

Staff who are rostered for Friday afternoons will get a full day in lieu instead.

"We hope you'll make the most of the extra time – perhaps escape the city for the weekend, pick up the kids from school and head to the beach, or maybe catch up with friends and family around the BBQ," says an internal announcement - though it also counsels staff to manage the rest of the week carefully so they don't fall behind.

It makes for a brighter start to 2020 than 2019, when Vodafone NZ staff faced the uncertainty of a sweeping restructure, which ultimately outsourced some roles to Tech Mahindra. There are also new in-house initiatives like the X-Squad.

And it could be seen as part of something of a work/life balance and wellbeing trend in the local telco industry.

2degrees recently introduced an initiative whereby staff are actively encouraged to genuinely switch off their work email and messaging after hours.

A trial was recently made permanent, and even new boss Mark Aue did his best to - mostly - down his screens over the Christmas holiday break.

Vocus pays for a gym or sports club membership, and grants an extra week's leave after five years' service.

Chorus gives staff two additional leave days between Christmas and New Year.

Spark offers flexitime summer hours. Its staff can choose any weekday to bunk off two or four hours early, or start late, though with the proviso that they have to make up the time at some point with their choice of an early start or working late make-up-time shift.

And its philanthropic Spark Foundation is partnering with four-day week champion Andrew Barnes on a series of wellbeing initiatives. The company has championed a living wage, and initiatives like income protection and medical insurance for all staff.

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