3 May 2013

UK call centre operating at night from Auckland

9:50 am on 3 May 2013

British call centre staff are taking turns to live in New Zealand to cover night shifts.

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

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

Moneypenny provides a phone answering service, handling over 8 million calls per year for 6000 clients from sole traders to multinationals.

A trial group of four staff have been in Auckland since November. They have been working four days on and four days off, a pattern which is set to continue in four - six month stints when the next group take over.

The company has put the first group in a rented house.

When staff in Wrexham leave the office at 20:00 GMT, their colleagues in Auckland take over until 08:00 GMT and British customers continue to receive the same service through the night.

"By working on the other side of the world we're now able to offer a truly 24 hour first-rate service, with bright, chirpy and wide-awake people," said founder Rachel Clacher.

The BBC reports she had the idea to base staff overseas while on a sabbatical in Australia. It is envisaged British employees will spend over four months in New Zealand, although the changeover could be altered to suit them.

Managing director Glenn Jackson said the move to New Zealand has been expensive, but it has been better for staff and clients.

Staff happy

Jess Edwards, 24, from Holt, near Wrexham, said she is enjoying the experience so much in Takapuna 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 and generally thrown myself into the experience."