More employees in New Zealand productive thanks to FWA

A researcher from Massey University attributed the results to the trust and flexibility from managers and leaders, leading to higher productivity and creativity.
By: | January 26, 2024

Most employees who work in hybrid work arrangements in New Zealand are “more productive and innovative”, according to the latest research from Massey University.

In a wellbeing@work study, which surveyed between 1000 and 1135 New Zealand representative employees across six different months between November 2021 and December 2023, it found that the number of people doing hybrid work had increased to 41.7%, up from 28.4% in June 2023 and 32.3% in December 2022.

Jarrod Harr, Massey University researcher and author of the study, said that he “wasn’t surprised” by the findings, reported 1 News.

“A lot of it has to do with two things. One is the trust that you get when your employer lets you work from home, so you put in a bit of extra effort,” he said. “But for things like innovation you just get that time to decompress away from your coworkers, and the colleagues and perhaps a pressing deadline so I think we’re seeing some gains there.”

“If anything, it looks like the New Zealand workforce is engaging in more hybrid work than ever before.”

Harr theorised that the reason for its success comes down to trust, as managers set the tone of what is expected in hybrid work models.

“It’s actually quite simple. As a leader, as a direct manager, it’s your job to outline your expectations. If they’re being met you should be happy and if they’re being exceeded you should think ‘gee whiz I’m onto something here’.”

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Organisations can track progress of employees regardless of whether they’re in the office or not as the data can be followed, which makes it cheaper to have them work from anywhere, explained Harr.

“I think [in] New Zealand, most of those employers out there are on to something.”