17 Dec 2020

Working from beach: Employees urged to work even more remotely

7:00 pm on 17 December 2020

Some of the country's largest companies are urging their employees to embrace "free range work" this summer to boost employee wellbeing and send much needed tourists to regional communities.

Women travel in natural sitting in the hammock and working in a natural park using a notebook.

Photo: 123RF

Tourism Holdings Limited and Vodafone have jumped on board with the four-week 'work from anywhere' initiative which allows their staff to work from the beach, bach or even a tent following the festive season.

Tourism Holdings chief financial officer Nick Judd said because people had got used to working from home over the pandemic, there was now the ability to work from anywhere in Aotearoa.

"We've got so used to virtual working due to Covid this year we're saying get out and about, explore the country, help some of the regional economies and take your work with you," Judd told Nine to Noon.

He said the campaign was also about improving worker welfare after a particularly stressful year.

"Obviously, being in the tourism industry has been an incredibly taxing year - not only in our industry but across the board - so this is a thing that we can do for our staff to recognise that it's been a very full on year and has probably swung the work-life balance more towards the worksite.

"This is a way for them to take up an opportunity like this and hopefully balance the ledger a little bit," Judd said.

He said that in many cases productivity had not changed in the locksdowns and had likely gone up because workers' commutes had dropped, so the initiative gave staff the opportunity to be more flexible while working remotely.

Judd acknowledged that only some workers - such as office workers - would be able to take full advantage of the initiative, and that it may not work for frontline staff.

Staff encouraged to explore Aotearoa

Vodafone business head of corporate Kate Tulp said Vodafone was "really encouraging" its staff to take part and that there were benefits when its staff returned to the office relaxed.

"We are very lucky at Vodafone that, for a long time, [we have] had all the digital tools and equipment which allow people to do their jobs from anywhere.

"[This] initiative really opens this up to more Kiwis to get out and explore parts of Aotearoa that they may not have had the opportunity to do before," Tulp said.

She said employees "for the most part" could choose where they would like to work.

"Almost everyone outside of retail has the opportunity to work from where they want to."

She said everybody needed a holiday and the work from anywhere campaign would not interfere with staff holidays.

"Absolutely people need to take a break - more than any other year - but what about extending the opportunity to hangout with your whānau, with your kids, loved ones, in a place where they are happy and enjoying themselves, but also get your work done."

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