Remote and flexible working

Remote and flexible working: The moment of truth for NZ employers

As the world continues to transform, remote and flexible working has become one of the biggest long-term impacts globally for COVID-19 employers. Stats NZ reported that, in September 2020, more than 40% of Kiwis did at least some work from home during the level 4 and level 3 lockdown.

This has given us a taste of what a positive work-life balance could be, which has prompted more and more of us to turn to employers that offer fully remote or flexible working. This also means more of us are applying for and accepting offers from overseas employers who – unfortunately for local employers – often offer higher remuneration.

Remote working is not a new concept, but it is becoming more commonplace, particularly in the technology sector. This is because it’s become a more viable option for businesses, who are adjusting their workplace cultures in response.

Clear benefits to remote working

There are some clear benefits to remote working, which has made the decision even easier for businesses. It improves employee productivity, enhances flexibility, contributes to cost savings, reduces (and in most cases eliminates) commute time, and reduces our carbon footprint, which benefits the environment.

Another strong benefit for employers to adopt remote working is that it eliminates geographic boundaries and lets them extend their talent pool. This helps create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. It also helps level the playing field in the competition for talent between companies, as everyone now has access to top-quality talent from outside their geographic region.

There are, however, some downsides to remote working for Kiwi employers. Previously, employers could offer perks like onsite parking, gym memberships, free food onsite, commuter discounts and even childcare allowances. Remote working is making it more difficult for businesses to offer equivalent benefits.

Adapt or lose staff

Experts report that remote and flexible working is not a Covid-specific fad that will disappear once the pandemic is under control. It is here to stay, and it is proving a positive differentiator for talent. The current environment is an excellent opportunity for companies to implement changes and innovations that allow their teams to work remotely.

In a survey conducted by the International Workplace Group, 83% of respondents reported that the ability to work flexibly at least some of the time would be the deciding factor when deciding between two similar jobs. And 32% said having a choice of work location matters more than being given a more prestigious role within their company.

Employers who have embraced remote working should invest in creating an environment that grows leadership capability and capacity to manage this new ‘out of office’ workforce. They also need to look beyond traditional tangible perks and offer a working environment that fosters growth and belonging despite having a dispersed workforce.

This means providing resources and access to services that support staff wellbeing and professional development and keeping up to date with remote working best practice as a baseline.

Remote working with a national (or even global) team can also enhance and enrich employees’ experience. Gone are the days of working in silos; companies can now connect and engage teams using the myriad of communication tools available, allowing team members to feel connected.

Capitalise on remote working gains so far

Employers should continue to focus on remote working possibilities and continue to push this new employment paradigm further. The experience of the past year has highlighted the strengths of New Zealand’s organisations, people leaders and team members to adapt quickly and keep going.

This will not only help employers attract and retain top talent but also enable them to be ready for the next challenges that come their way.

If you’re looking to recruit in IT and digital, reach out to us at Techspace Consulting. We work across New Zealand and can help you find the best candidates … no matter where they live.

About the author

Lesha Grey is a Candidate Manager at Techspace. She has extensive recruitment experience, including a number of years in full 360 recruitment. She has worked across a variety of companies — from large to small — which has made her adaptable, flexible and a strong relationship builder.

You can connect with her on LinkedIn or by email.

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