Flexible working hours initiative turning heads

MainPower has been gaining attention for an industry-leading employee well-being initiative that offers staff the opportunity to work a Nine-Day Fortnight.

The company was recognised at the New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards gala held in Wellington on Wednesday evening, winning the Well-being category which celebrates excellence in caring for employees.

MainPower, who are one of the largest employers in the North Canterbury region, offer their staff the option of working hours that effectively make every second weekend three days long.

MainPower Chief Executive Andy Lester says that the initiative was a hot topic of conversation at the awards gala.

“This initiative is valued by our staff and is looked at within our industry as an impressive and innovative idea,” says Mr Lester.

The Nine-Day Fortnight work pattern, as it is known, was formally implemented in late 2019 after two trials were held within the company. The trials found that there was a significant positive impact on employees’ reported sense of wellbeing and an improvement in work-life balance.

The company’s core activity is carrying out maintenance on the electricity distribution network in North Canterbury. MainPower altered their scheduling and planning processes to ensure that there is no change to the work delivered to the community.

“A common theme that we’re hearing from our people is that having a weekday off makes life easier in terms of booking appointments, keeping up with household tasks and finding time to exercise. People are also noticing bonuses like saving money on commuting and childcare,” says General Manager People and Culture Sandra O’Donohue.

The Nine-Day Fortnight work pattern is a point of difference for the company, who were the first in the electricity industry to offer the flexible working arrangement to staff.

“Being an industry leader in this area gives us an edge at the recruitment stage and better enables us to attract and retain talent, who would be unable to find a similar level of flexibility and focus on well-being elsewhere. This is critical in today’s competitive labour market,” says Ms O’Donohue.

Winners were announced at the New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards Gala, held in Wellington on 5 May.

MainPower NZ Ltd