Rotorua businesses are looking at different ways to help improve the wellbeing of their staff while at work. Reporter Zoe Hunter looks at the innovative model of working hours some companies have been trialling and investigates what effects it is having on productivity in the workplace.
From four-day weeks and six-hour days to aligning workdays with the lunar calendar - Rotorua businesses are trialling different ways to improve wellbeing in the workplace.
And, according to recruiters, it is becoming more common for employers to advertise wellbeing benefits in job descriptions.
Increased awareness around mental health and wellbeing is believed to be why job seekers are now looking for more than just a pay packet.
Latest Stats NZ data found just 25 per cent of Bay of Plenty employees were very satisfied with their jobs - a 7 per cent drop in job satisfaction since 2016.
However, 51.3 per cent of people were simply satisfied with their jobs in 2018, while 13.3 per cent had no feeling either way and 10 per cent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard says employers advertising wellbeing benefits in job vacancies is becoming a trend.
"I think it is a good trend. It is a more balanced approach," he says. "People want to know what they are getting themselves into. We should be making it work for everyone."
He has heard some Rotorua businesses have adopted four-day working weeks with success.
"I think it is more of a personal choice. Some offices have to stay open for 6 or 7 days a week. It is a matter of orchestrating rosters around the essentials."
But Heard says businesses had to be careful that workplace wellbeing was not seen as just time off. "That is always the difficult part."
Kirsty Wynn, editor of jobs website Yudu, says it is now more common for employers to include wellbeing benefits in job descriptions.
"Offering flexible hours, health insurance and fitness packages are attractive and seen as increasingly important," she said.
"Some of the benefits, such as coffee mornings or providing time to connect over afternoon tea, cost companies very little but do a lot to build workplace morale."
Wynn says New Zealand workplaces have a legal responsibility to look after their employee's mental wellbeing just like any other health and safety risk.
"When people are looking for work they are looking at more than just the pay rate," she says.
"There is an increased awareness around mental health and wellbeing in our everyday lives and this is reflected in the job market."
Healthy Families Rotorua manager Mapihi Raharuhi says staff arrange workdays around Maramataka - a traditional Māori calendar based on the cycles of the moon.
Raharuhi says the rhythm of a traditional Māori lunar calendar is used as a self-observation tool to help staff understand their behaviour patterns and can arrange their workday accordingly.
"You can plan your day around Maramataka - so some people might choose to schedule all of their meetings on a high-energy day," she says.
"What we are seeing is there is high productivity when people are in high-energy lunar phases ... Maramataka is a normal part of our day within our workplace."
Staff use Maramataka to contribute to long-term, sustainable change that improves and increases healthier environments, Raharuhi said.
"It is really important we monitor our behaviour so we can all get along in an environment where we are working with our whanau five days a week," she said.
"We need to do our job and do it well. Any tool we can use to optimise our performance is important to share."
Chartered accountants Business Results Group in Te Puke brought in a six-hour workday in October last year.
Company director Trudi Ballantyne says employees work six hours a day and still get paid for the full 7.5 hours, allowing staff to finish by 3pm.
Ballantyne says staff work in three-hour blocks without a break and take their half-hour unpaid break before working a second three-hour block.
"At the end of that you are free to go home," she said. "What we are seeing is we are well ahead on work this year compared to last year ... We have also been able to attract really good quality staff by doing this."
Rotorua Lakes Council manager of organisation development and capability, Richard Bird, says the benefits of a safe and healthy workplace went beyond productivity in the workplace.
"We understand that staff spend a majority of their life at work and it can often be a demanding environment," he said.
"We know that a positive environment at work will enable staff to enjoy their home life more."
The council is part of Toi Te Ora Public Health's WorkWell scheme, which supports organisations to implement initiatives to encourage workplace health and wellbeing.
Through the programme, the council has put in place subsidies for staff sports teams and fun runs, corporate rate offers at local gyms, and free nutritional seminars with Healthy Families Rotorua.
Bird says the programme made a "significant contribution" to increased engagement and productivity, with staff also reporting results including healthier eating, weight loss, increased physical activity and quitting smoking.