New Zealanders getting the hybrid work balance right

Insights from the 2023 New Zealand Office Sentiment Survey.

October 20, 2023

New Zealand is a shining example of how organisations are encouraging employees to return to the office. Globally, occupiers are learning how to bring their teams back together in the office. In a post-pandemic world, some are finding this more difficult than others.

In JLL NZ’s 2023 Office Sentiment Survey, we asked how satisfied employees are with their current working environment. Looking at the Net Promoter Score (NPS), survey respondents showed their satisfaction with a score of +20, a significant improvement over the 2021 Survey score of -5, which highlights that there are many more promoters than detractors compared to two years ago. This suggests occupiers are moving the dial in a positive way and providing office space that’s starting to meet more of their employees’ requirements.

Figure 1: Workplace satisfaction is improving!

Source: JLL Research

Flexible working on the up

Ninety percent of employees were happy with the flexible working options currently offered to them. Looking at the ideal working week, 25% opted for three days in the office, 22% for four days and 23% for full-time in the office. This means that 70% of staff want to be in their offices at least three days per week.

Figure 2: What does the ideal work week look like?

Source: JLL Research

According to the survey, the best benefit of working from home is not having to commute, with 45% of respondents selecting this option. Work/life balance is another important outcome of hybrid working, with 32% opting for this as the best benefit of working from home.

On the other hand, better collaboration with colleagues is the best thing about being in the office, with 63% of employees suggesting this was the biggest drawcard for coming to the workplace. Eight percent selected personal development as the top benefit of office time as it allows more facetime with senior colleagues.

Eighty-four percent of occupiers said they offered some form of flexible/hybrid working options, which is in line with 86% of employees reporting they have some form of flexible working arrangements, whether as a formal policy or an informal arrangement across the business.

Getting the best out of the office

Over half of occupiers (55%) admitted considering a change of space in the next year, with 16% looking to reduce their total footprint, 14% wanting to increase, and 25% wanting to reconfigure. The theme of ‘more change still to come in the office sector’ aligns with the current conversations within New Zealand. Many occupiers are yet to start the journey of providing the optimum space for their employees and are working to better understand the importance of getting this right to retain and attract staff.

The 2023 survey is evidence of owners’ willingness to ensure they provide quality office space in the right location to attract quality tenants. In turn, their tenants want to provide modern, collaborative workplace environments for their employees, who seek more collaborative spaces and development opportunities with senior colleagues.

New Zealand is on the right track regarding workplace satisfaction, as occupiers recognise the importance of modern, fit-for-purpose fitouts in desirable locations to encourage office attendance. Although more work is needed to align the needs of owners, occupiers, and employees, the positive shift in NPS since the 2021 survey shows that the dial is moving in the right direction.