Overwhelming majority of Kiwis want to continue working from home, study suggests

John McKenzie
Source: 1News

A new Otago University study shows more than 70 per cent of people who worked from home during lockdown, believe they either worked at normal capacity, or exceeded their usual production.

The survey, completed by 2595 New Zealanders, also showed 89 per cent wanted to continue working from home at some capacity in the future.

“Or not even at home, but perhaps more flexibly,” researcher Dr Paula O’Kane said.

It’s a feeling shared by Akina Foundation chief executive Louise Aitken, who pre-lockdown, never envisioned herself working from home.

“I thought it was awful because I’m such an extrovert, I thought I’d get really lonely and wouldn’t be able to be productive. I’ve proven that’s maybe not the case,” Ms Aitken said.

She also believed her staff were more productive during lockdown, like Christchurch based worker Sean Barnes.

“We actually had a realisation at the end of the month when we looked at our metrics internally and we just went wow, that was pretty crazy,” Mr Barnes said.

The survey also showed most Kiwis were optimistic about the idea of working from home in the future, with just 8 per cent saying they remained pessimistic.

While many businesses say they would continue to offer some form of working from home, not everyone is convinced, citing the impact it’s having on retail and hospitality in city centres.

“We need people back here, we need people spending in cafes, we need people spending in shops, because the wage subsidy is not going to carry on for much longer,” Wellington City councillor Diane Calvert said.

Researcher Paula O’Kane said it’s about finding balance.

“It’s having those conversations and working out what’s mutually beneficial,” she said.

Something for businesses to ponder, as life slowly returns to normal.