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Time Kiwis spent remote working doubled during lockdown

Chorus is encouraging New Zealand businesses to take the opportunity to embrace the productivity and process efficiencies to be gained by a new distributed workforce way of working, prompted by the Covid-19 restrictions.

New research conducted on behalf of Chorus New Zealand by International Data Corporation explores the working from home impacts of the first alert level 3 lockdown in March to June this year and how Kiwi businesses coped. 

The research found the time employees spent remote working more than doubled on average; from 20% in March to 43% in July 2020.

Post Covid-19, 95% of employees surveyed use videoconferencing on a weekly basis, while 74% of employees believe high-speed connectivity is a Must Have to work from home.

The report found 66% of employees indicated their work outcomes would be seriously impacted after one day of disrupted connectivity, and 24% of organisations indicated business outcomes would be impacted after one day of disrupted connectivity

Chorus New Zealand, Chief Customer Officer, Ed Hyde says the findings highlight how despite facing technology challenges and investment, organisations are recognising greater employee satisfaction levels as a key benefit of more fluid workplace arrangements.

"When you consider 46% of employees claim higher productivity levels when given the flexibility of WFH, indicating they were somewhat or significantly more productive, it's clear to see the operational benefits of supporting a more connected workforce engagement in terms of reduced churn, and lower overhead costs," he says.

"Working remote is here to stay and has connotations across the board for enterprises in terms of health and safety, communication, managing productivity and importantly connectivity," Hyde says.

"With appropriate working models in place, there's huge benefits to be gained in terms of business continuity, productivity, and resiliency."

Despite this, almost 1/3rd of businesses surveyed do not have appropriate strategies and policies to enable remote working. IDC data confirmed employers continue to prioritise support and cost subsidies for traditional hardware such as mobile phone plans (almost 50%) and just 14% provide support for employees internet connection and plans.

With the added dependence on online collaboration tools and high bandwidth activities such as video calling, remote working also provides an interesting insight into the importance of reliable connectivity for operating day-to-day with customers.

According to the survey, 33% of employees on non-fibre connections at home flagged poor connection to the internet as a major challenge when working outside of the office, compared with 22% of employees with fibre connections.

"A reliable, high-quality internet connection is critical for enabling the anywhere, anytime, workplace, fortunately, we have some of the best broadband in the world," Hyde says. 

"In these unchartered times, there is real potential for New Zealand business to lead the way."