Every country has its way of doing things when it comes to the work environment, and New Zealand is no exception. The purpose of this article is to help you to better understand how to navigate cultural differences and learn more about your new work environment.
If you are new in New Zealand or planning to move here soon, you might be aware of the challenges of migrating to another country. Immigrants often feel very excited initially, as they are in a different and beautiful country. But bear in mind that there is a settlement process, and understanding it will make your first months in the country more comfortable. The following graph has been provided by Immigration New Zealand to help migrants better understand the Settlement Curve:
New Zealand employers and colleagues generally value a proactive attitude towards work. Managers usually expect everyone to participate in contributing ideas and feedback. Here everyone is welcome to share their opinions.
Kiwis (as New Zealanders call themselves) are friendly and welcoming. It's not unusual for them to have been abroad, and most workmates will have an understanding of your situation.
Another feature of New Zealand work culture is that employees are often expected to work independently, rather than under close supervision.
Thinking outside the box and being a team player is also very important for Kiwis.
A substantial number of Kiwi businesses are small organisations. In many of them, employees get to work closely with the company's decision-makers.
In New Zealand, businesses often have less organisational layers. This means you are likely to be exposed to work on a wide range of areas in your job.
Kiwis generally care very little about status. New Zealand managers are usually friendly. They are likely to treat you and will prefer to be treated like a workmate. This can be surprising for migrants coming from cultures where seniority requires special treatment from workers.
A popular way of helping migrant workers in New Zealand is through a buddy system. A buddy is a workmate who helps you understand how things operate at work, such as what is expected from employees in meetings. A buddy is essentially someone to help you better settle into your new work environment.
Kiwi workers enjoy about the best work/life balance in the world. Employers are usually sympathetic to employees' needs.
According to the New Zealand Families Commission, 90% of the country's workers say their employer would let them take time off for special family events. And 3 out of 4 workers rated their work as being flexible. Some businesses allow employees to work from home, and even though this practice is less common in New Zealand than in other countries, the trend is growing.