New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has suggested employers to consider a four-day working week and other flexible working options as a way to boost tourism and help employees address persistent work/life balance issues.
In a Facebook live video Ardern said people had suggested everything from the shorter work week to more public holidays as a means to stimulate the economy and encourage domestic tourism, while the borders remain closed to foreign nationals.
The prime minister’s informal comments have excited New Zealanders, many of whom are questioning whether seismic, systemic change will result from the pandemic – or whether life will return to normal; with its associated problems.
Speaking from Rotorua, one of the country’s tourist hubs, Ardern said many New Zealanders said they would travel more domestically if they had more flexibility in their working lives. The country’s tourism market has taken a massive downturn after the pandemic, with all borders remaining closed to foreign nationals and many New Zealanders taking pay-cuts or tightening their belt in case of lay-offs.