What have we learned? Working from home, for some, has been a great opportunity to trial something that would not normally be available. Throughout the first lock down in levels 3 and 4 more than 40% of New Zealanders were able to work from home and this led to some interesting results.

The University of Otago ran a study assessing the productivity of employees and how many would like to continue after the fact. An astounding 73% were either as productive or more productive than working from the office. Furthermore, of those working from home the vast majority, almost 90%, would like to continue working from home when possible. Employees have learned what they can and cannot achieve working from home and employers have had to revaluate traditional concepts of the workplace and what that means.

Most interestingly Covid-19 and a mass exodus from the office raised questions about where we live and how we work. If you do not need to work from the office do you even need to live in the same city or even the same country as your work-place? In one respect, we can reduce congestion and “lost time” in long commutes, conversely it means that the work may be done offshore putting more burden on our unemployment statistics.

Although not workable for every profession, working from home could be the low-cost key to many of the issues facing the major cities in the country. Congestion and overloaded roads and services, the heavily strained housing market, partially fuelled by needing to be close to cities because that’s where the work is, all of these issues could be eased by a gradual dispersion of population into areas further from city centres.  The hope for all of this would be to bring money and population to smaller struggling towns and regions.

What industries are working from home?

  • 71% Financial and insurance services
  • 66% Information media and telecommunications
  • 59% Professional, scientific, technical, administrative and support services
  • 58% Rental, hiring and real estate services

A return to level 1 has seen a remaining 29% still working at home and one of the most popular search terms is now “work from home”.  As the market demands options and employers evaluate the potential to remain in business while reducing costs, working from home could be the key to longer term survival and supports reduction in large city congestion issues.

Thanks for reading – article by Sam Paget October 2020