It’s an 11,000-mile commute, but no one at this call centre complains

Welsh workers flown half-way around the world to New Zealand  to avoid nightshifts

It might be the longest commute in history.

Staff at a Welsh call centre are being flown half the way around the world to New Zealand to allow them to cover graveyard shifts without the chore of working nights.

As part of the innovative scheme – which has apparently been well-received by employees – the telephone answering company Moneypenny is offering its Wrexham-based workers the chance to move 11,000 miles away to the sunshine of Auckland.

The firm described the initiative  as a “relatively straightforward” decision to provide “wide awake” staff answering the increasing number of calls in the middle of the night. 

Now when the Wrexham-based workers leave the office, at the “flick of a switch” when it is 8pm in Britain colleagues in Auckland take over until 8am.

To make the deal even sweeter for the staff relocating to the southern hemisphere, they work four days on and four days off, allowing them time  to go sightseeing.

The New Zealand office is based in the coastal suburb of Takapuna, which has a 6km crescent-shaped beach with turquoise waters. Wrexham, by contrast, has a swimming pool next to the magistrates’ court. 

But after six months the call-centre staff must return home when they are replaced in New Zealand. Four employees have already flow out, with another 40 expressing an interest. The scheme was thought up by Rachel Clacher and Ed Reeves, Moneypenny’s directors. After an Australian sabbatical in 2010, Ms Clacher said: “I had managed to work out in Australia pretty seamlessly so we decided to look at neighbouring New Zealand as a possible base because it made more financial sense.”

She said that only four out of more than 250 employees had wanted to continue night shifts in Wrexham before the new office opened last October. “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.”

One the first staff members to be based in New Zealand was Jess Edwards, 24, from Holt, near Wrexham. She has now visited Australia and New Zealand’s North and South Islands. She said: “I am getting to see places I probably never would have the chance to see otherwise.” She added: “It’s very different to the working week I am used to in the UK.”

Moneypenny, currently answering phones for some 6,000 businesses, said it was keen to provide its employees with a “comfortable, happy, stimulating work environment”.

Reaction to the new call centre was mixed on Twitter. Some users praised the idea as “brilliantly progressive” but others said it was just the kind of “stupidity that is killing  the planet”.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'