As New Zealand businesses continue to work through the challenges that COVID-19 has triggered, most are finding themselves reimagining the way Kiwis will work long-term. 

Following two lockdowns here in Wellington, at Front+Centre we’ve seen first-hand how businesses have reacted to alert level changes. With various studies revealing that people have become accustomed to the lifestyle changes brought about by COVID-19, we wanted to share the four key trends we’ve noticed since coming out of lockdown:

1. More people are working from home

Despite recent level changes, we've witnessed an uptake in the number of people sticking to their work-from-home (WFH) routines. Whether this is individuals who work in organisations or others who have started their own business, Kiwis seem to be more content working from home. PCMag developed 20 Tips for Working From Home which is a great read for those wanting to stay on top of their WFH game. One thing we've noticed is that people have been looking to book a small space in the city like the ones we have available at Front+Centre. Office spaces offer a refreshing change in scenery and tend to enhance people's productivity too.

2. Organisations have learned to be more flexible

In New Zealand, lockdowns have caused people to become accustomed to the freedom and flexibility that working from home provides. So, it's no surprise that when the time came for people to head back to the office in alert level 2, some didn't want to return to the 5-day a week office routine. With this, we’ve heard of organisations adopting greater work flexibility through a hybrid working environment. Many have even gone to the extent of setting up WFH policies to accommodate this new way of working, helping to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Other organisations have taken this as an opportunity to downsize their HQ workspace and use alternative venues to hold collaborative wider team meetings or development days to reduce costs. 

In times like this, it’s important to book a venue like Front+Centre, where the focus is on being highly accommodating and agile when it comes to moving between alert levels.

3. A greater focus on employee connection

Technology is a double-edged sword; in one way it can bring people together, and in another it can create a sense of social isolation. As business people take on the WFH lifestyle, they start to miss out on the daily coffee room catch-ups or over the desk banter with colleagues. To keep teams engaged, we've seen a pivotal shift in managers hiring out meeting rooms like ours to set up monthly in-person collaboration days, where groups can reconnect over team-building activities and monthly work-in-progress catch-ups. We have observed a greater appreciation for reconnection due to the rarity of in-person meetings.

4. A change in the way we collaborate and do team meetings

With Zoom and Microsoft Teams now established as the new norm, many organisations have embraced virtual interaction, as it not only saves time but reduces costs. With this, businesses have been making use of hiring external meeting rooms that are fully equipped with video conferencing equipment so that they can seamlessly host webinars, consultations, presentations and negotiations. Greater technology has been required to host these virtual events successfully with more extensive audio-visual systems. We have witnessed a greater call for team assistance and support with this technology, where our customers rely on our ability to continually invest in the latest technology and infrastructure. Hosting a virtual event in an external video-conferencing venue like ours ensures businesses can focus on their meeting rather than the technical side of things.

So, whether it was the pandemic itself that has changed the way we work, or it simply accelerated existing workplace trends, it’s fair to say that this virtual world we're living and working in is here to stay.