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Working from home a trend here to stay, some predict as productivity increases

The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, one of the most noticeable ways is in the workplace.

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More businesses are turning to shared work spaces or work from home options for employees. Source: 1 NEWS

Office space is being reduced as businesses, big and small, move to working from home or into co-working spaces.

It also means the commute is sometimes less painful than pre-pandemic times, as last year's lockdown is causing many to rethink not only how they work, but where.

Businesses such as Hewlett-Packard are moving from long term leases into flexible co-working spaces.

Hewlett Packard spokesperson Oliver Hill says most people only come in two to three days a week.

“The rest of the time is working from home or out with customers,” he told 1 NEWS.

Some major companies, like AMP, have given up central city office space completely.

Co-working spaces offered by companies like Generator, are becoming increasingly popular.

Businesses sign up for membership to rent office or desk space.

“What they're doing is really shopping around, they're demanding flexibility for their employees, but also in terms of their term of the lease, so as they grow they can do that,” John Moffett, from Generator, says.

Despite there being no right for employers to enter or manage a home workplace, they remained legally liable should something go wrong, according to Don Rennie. Source: istock.com

“On the flipside, if there's going to be a contraction because if we are hit again, they want to know they aren't going to be paying for an office,” he says.

Traffic in most major cities has now returned to pre-Covid levels.

1 NEWS looked at daily traffic data from Waka Kotahi and found Mondays and Fridays were the quietest weekdays.

“What Covid has proven to us is you can trust everyone - you're able to get the same productivity or even more productivity,” Hill says.

“When they don't have the commute time, they don't have to battle traffic and they can really manage the day the way they want to,” he says.

One big downside is that work from home days are leading to hard times for some retailers.

“Particularly [in] Auckland and Wellington, and to a lesser extent Christchurch, are really suffering from the fact that people are still working from home,” says Greg Harford of Retail New Zealand.

“That means there are fewer people coming into town every day, fewer people out buying lunch, fewer people shopping at lunchtime.”

But it’s a trend some predict is here to stay.

“We have companies from every single industry you can think of, it's like a micro economy within our buildings, it's really interesting. We can see what's happening in the economy before it happens,” Moffett says.