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Vodafone’s roll out of early-finish Fridays will have ‘big impact on morale’

Telecommunications company Vodafone is letting some of its employees clock off early on a Friday afternoon, and it’s a win-win situation, says an organisational psychologist.

More than 2000 workers have been given an extra incentive to finish the summer weeks early, at 2pm on Fridays.

Vodafone acting HR director Katie Williams said it’s about making sure employees have the best work-home balance.

Organisational psychologist John Eatwell told Morning Report employees value time and work flexibility is one of the highest valued rewards a workplace can offer.

“Extra time, particularly during summer, is a great reward and will have a big impact on morale.”

But continuing to be paid for 40 hours is the key, Eatwell said.

Research shows a lot of roles really need a break every hour and at 36 hours you lose productivity significantly, he said.

“There’s a lot of research around to suggest that probably the optimal working week is around 36 hours so the last 2 or 3 hours of a Friday is probably not going to be very productive.”

It’s a win-win situation, Eatwell said.

He expects the initiative to flow on to other businesses.

“The fact that we have more knowledge-workers now, less people involved in physical tasks, so the more we want people to be creative, innovative, strategic, the more we need to think about how refreshed and focused they are when they’re working.”

Vodafone said if people still have work to do when Friday 2pm rolls around employees would be able to take another day off work at another time.

This was originally published on RNZ’s website.

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