Welsh phone operators work the night-shift - from Takapuna

by Toby Manhire / 02 May, 2013
Answering service flies operators to New Zealand to take advantage of the time difference.

Offshore call centres are commonplace these days, but this is a bit different.

A Wales-based telephone answering service is flying groups of staff to Auckland where they work the European nightshift through the New Zealand day.

Despite an unhelpful exchange rate, the employees have been flown out after the company, Moneypenny, struggled to find enough operators willing to work through the British night.

BBC Wales explains:

With New Zealand 12 hours ahead, Moneypenny staff normally based in Wrexham are still working day shifts but provide late-night cover when colleagues in Wales clock off.

Before opening the office in Auckland, bosses asked staff if they wanted to work nights or relocate temporarily.

A trial group of four staff are due to return after flying out last November.

The company boasts of the service on its website:

As well as providing market-leading service during normal office hours, Moneypenny guarantees that the level of quality offered by our award-winning Moneypenny PAs at 3am will be the same as that offered at 3pm. How can we be so sure? We have our own office in New Zealand which is staffed with experienced Moneypenny PAs who have all worked in our main UK office for a number of years. This means day or night, our high-quality service will be seamless.

Co-founder Rachel Clacher tells Director magazine how they went about it.

"We asked everybody at Moneypenny whether they wanted to work overnight, or work in New Zealand?" says Clacher. "Four people said they would be interested in night shifts and 40 people said that they'd be happy working in New Zealand."

Clacher went to Auckland last September to set up the new office. "I was there for 10 days and chose the beautiful suburb of Takapuna because it was easy for us to find accommodation, an office and a beach all in the same place," she says. "I found the office and rented a house for our UK staff."

It sounds as though they’ve been having a rather lovely time, too.

The staff have been working four days on and four days off so they can take in the sights while living abroad, a pattern which is set to continue in four to six month stints when the next group take over.

Jess Edwards, 24, from Holt, near Wrexham, says she is enjoying the experience so much in Takapuna on New Zealand's northern coast that she hopes to be able to continue working there.

"It is an absolutely fantastic opportunity," she said.

"I am getting to see places I probably never would have the chance to see otherwise. It's very different to the working week I am used to in the UK but this was deliberately planned so we can make the most of being here.

"I have visited Australia and both the North and South Islands [of New Zealand] and generally thrown myself into the experience."

Read more here.

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