The changes wrought by Covid-19 on businesses have created effective and long-lasting new ways of working as companies look to capitalise on the operational savings made during lockdown. Jade Maddox, managing director of shared work, meeting and event space BloomCo, discusses what this means for local businesses.
“Last year, when Covid-19 first landed in New Zealand, we had just opened a shared working premises in Pyes Pa. Many people said to me that things were going to be challenging; that nobody will want to work near others after this,” says Jade.
“My response was “I think it’ll be alright, mate”, and what an understatement that turned out to be,” she says.
Jade believes that the old saying, necessity is the mother of invention, has proven true as businesses seek new ways of working.
“Consequently, the popularity of flexible office spaces has never been higher. Covid actually provided the impetus to super-charge the revolution in changing the way we work and do business in this country,” she says.
“By now, every business here has experienced working from home and seen the many pros and cons of that compared to our traditional standards and expectations around ‘office time’.”
Businesses of all sizes are moving in droves away from the office-based, fixed commercial lease model. Bayleys Research recently reported that more than half of all Vodafone NZ staff work from home, and BNZ have cut 30% of their office space for a permanent shift to hybrid flexi working and adaptable “liquid spaces”.
With the greater prevalence of coworking spaces, especially in the suburbs, more sole operators who traditionally based themselves from home are also now using such premises as a flexible base or a professional front for meeting their clients.
Globally, research suggests 5 million people will be working in coworking spaces by 2024, which is a 104% increase from today.
Here in New Zealand, Jade says that the industry is still evolving to meet client needs.
“While some still seek hotdesking spaces, there is more demand now for businesses seeking private office spaces with shared areas, and room for meetings and collaboration.”
“Locally, Tauranga is lucky to already have a plethora of coworking premises, each with their own vibe and options to meet the needs of those in our community,” she says.