Vodafone's early Friday finishes could have gone further - expert

A business professor believes Vodafone's new "summer hours" work programme is great for productivity, but it could've gone even further.

Vodafone New Zealand announced on Monday it will allow its staff to leave work at 2pm every Friday until the end of February.

Auckland University of Technology professor Jarrod Haar told The AM Show a shorter work week does lead to an increase in employee productivity.

"The research I did on [trust company] Perpetual Guardian found that it's actually given employees the freedom to find those wasted hours in the day or the week and be more efficient overall."

But he believes Vodafone could've shortened the Friday workday even more to provide a better benefit for employees.

"It would be far easier to work through to 12:30pm ... and then have the rest of the day off," he said.

"It could've been constructed a little bit better."

There are concerns that an increase in productivity from a four-day working week stems from managers not driving their employees or giving them decent enough incentives for a regular five-day week - especially when it comes to lengthy meetings.

One company Haar researched managed to turn two hours of meetings per week into one 30 minute catch-up per fortnight.

He said the decrease in work hours helps employees get their work done efficiently and effectively because in an eight-hour day, only about three hours of that time is actually spent working.

"In general, the normal workforce working Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, [a] 2pm finish on a Friday - beautiful."

Vodafone New Zealand said it hopes employees make the most of the extra time off.

"Perhaps escape the city for the weekend, pick up the kids from school and head to the beach, or maybe catch up with friends and family around the barbecue," it said in a statement.

"Where possible, encourage your team members to get a head-start on the weekend if they can, by taking advantage of our summer hours, and if your team is rostered, don't let them forget about the extra 'your day', as it will need to be used by the end of April this year."

Workers who are rostered on for Friday afternoons will be rewarded with a day in lieu.

Despite the kind gesture, staff are still expected to work efficiently throughout the week.