GWE’s Workplace Strategy – Flexible Working Arrangements

Nov 27, 2019 | Staff News

GWE welcomes back Specialist Water Engineer Adrian Percival. He’s back with us after spending the winter cruising Tonga and Fiji with his wife Nikki and 9yo daughter Stella on the family’s 13m sailing catamaran, Lady Nada.

The Wanderer Returns

GWE welcomes back Specialist Water Engineer Adrian Percival. He’s back with us after spending the winter cruising Tonga and Fiji with his wife Nikki and 9yo daughter Stella on the family’s 13m sailing catamaran, Lady Nada.

It’s the second time Adrian and family have sailed from New Zealand to cruise the Pacific Islands having undertaken a similar voyage last year. While away, the boat took part in the Musket Cove Regatta and Adrian and crew were joined by another GWE staff member, Lynda Dean for the prestigious 20nm “Round Malolo” race. The boat came a creditable third in the closely fought multihull class.

Communication is the key

Thanks to GWE’s flexible working arrangements and modern communications technology, Adrian was able to continue working for GWE throughout the trip. Using a combination of satellite and local cell phones, Adrian was able to stay in contact with the GWE team and its clients. 

For keen sailors Adrian shares details of his trip here.

An Overview of the Trip


Lady Nada set off from Auckland for Tonga in May 2019, via the Minerva reefs which are two submerged Atolls about 2/3 of the way to Tonga. These reefs are quite special as they have no land whatsoever but do provide good shelter to passing yachts and are often described as a “calm lake in the middle of the wild ocean”. The weather got a bit wild while they were there and they ended up having to shelter there for 10 days before they could get the anchor back up and set off for Tonga.


After hanging out with the Humpback Whales for 6 weeks in Tonga’s Vava’u and Ha’apai Groups, Lady Nada sailed over to Fiji in search of better weather as it had rained almost every day in Tonga. The boat was restocked in the sailor’s paradise of Savusavu, a small town on Vanua Levu, before setting sail to the remote Lau group, which is 1/3 of the way back to Tonga and very isolated from the rest of Fiji.

The highlight of the trip was two weeks spent in Fulaga, a spectacular lagoon surrounded by limestone islands and incredibly welcoming villagers. Getting into the Lagoon is a bit of a challenge as the reef pass is only 30m wide, 800m long, 4-8m deep and can flow up to 6-8knots of current. The pass may be tricky by boat but is known as one of the most beautiful dives sites in the world due to the vast range of coral and fish life. The Lady Nada crew snorkelled it half a dozen times to make memories that will never be forgotten.

From the Lau group, Lady Nada headed to the Island of Kadavu, known in Fiji as “Little New Zealand” due to its southerly location, relatively colder climate and excellent growing conditions for the very valuable Kava plant. Compared to the small, dry Lau group islands, being on a high island with waterfalls and greenery everywhere was very different. After swimming with Manta Rays at the nearby Great Astrolab Reef, Lady Nada headed back to civilisation in the Mamanucas, the tourist playground of Fiji, to compete in the famous Musket Cove regatta.

Musket Cove Regatta

Lynda Dean, another GWE staff member joining the crew for the regatta. There are a bunch of fun races and activities but the serious part of the event is the prestigious “Round Malolo race”. Lady Nada managed to claim third in the Multihull class after a close battle with the other cruising multihulls in the 20nm race. After the regatta, it was time to start looking for a weather window back to New Zealand and normal life, with Lady Nada being treated to a slow eight day trip from Denerau to the Bay of Islands, but a lot more comfortable than last years five and a half-day trip!

Offering Flexibility

Idiosyncratic deals, or flexible working arrangements, have been around for a long time, but are becoming increasingly possible as technology continues to provide new ways of working. Employees, with valuable skills and changing needs, are looking at new ways to integrate these needs with their skills.

Organisations, managers, employees and clients all benefit when a business can be creative with workplace arrangements.  Flexibility is a good thing, as long as it results in deals that are perceived as fair by the employees and leaders, and are manageable for the organisation, whilst delivering continued high service levels to clients.