National | Auckland

Benefits for Māori working a four-day week

A four-day working week could have major benefits for Māori employees and business owners says Professor of Human Resource Management Jarrod Haar.

Haar, of Ngāti Maniapoto descent, from Auckland University of Technology, is an advocate for the four-day week and has researched the unique factors associated with Māori in the workplace.

“One thing we’ve found is how Māori would spend that extra day off. I think there will be greater use of whānau time, perhaps going to kōhanga reo or spending time in their children’s schools.”

Haar’s research also found a reduction in job-related stress and enhanced work-life balance and life satisfaction with staff working four days a week.

“The four-day work week is about doing your regular five days’ work in four days, just trying to pick up or trim the fat in the system if you will. So instead of long hui or long meetings, trying to reduce the time to being more efficient and the reward is you get a paid day off per week.”

He says employees could also have more time to volunteer to work for organisations within their hapū and iwi on their extra day off.

“That could give a real cultural buy-back into communities but you’re also doing the work that you love.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently suggested a four-day working week to stimulate the New Zealand economy, especially domestic tourism, following the impact of COVID-19.

Haar says, “if we have more time, as the Prime Minister was alluding to, spending that time on domestic tourism, or if we have that bubble with Australia in the future, that would really give a shot in the arm to those kinds of struggling industries at the moment.”

Haar's research also found while productivity remained the same in teams, working four days a week allowed staff to work more creatively, effectively and efficiently.