Survey reveals how working Kiwis have adapted to lockdowns, working from home

A recent study evaluating how Kiwis are coping with splitting their working hours between home and the office has revealed some silver linings during a dark year of COVID-19 alert level lockdowns. 

It's the second year of the 2Degrees Business Study, which surveyed over 1000 business operators to see how they faced the immense pressures of the previous year. 

2Degrees Chief People Officer Jodie Shelley told the AM Show on Tuesday the study revealed there are still "real tensions" around working from home. 

"There's the stuff we really love [about WFH]: blazer on top jammies on the bottom, missing the traffic... and there are also the downsides of working from home: a lack of trust, the kids being a distraction," she said. "So there are real tensions at play." 

"I think people love working from home because you can really get through a lot of work with fewer distractions [than in the office]."

While many may have found the lockdowns isolated them from their colleagues, 53 percent of employers surveyed reported that Covid-19 actually had a positive impact on workplace culture, with 60 percent saying that the lockdowns have helped them to see a more human side to their employees.

"Interestingly the bosses are saying that before lockdown around a third were not encouraging employees to work from home at all, and now that's really flipped on its head," said Shelley. "What we're seeing now is that 96 percent of those business owners are saying they have some sort of WFH element in their offering." 

While the lockdowns went a long way in building trust between employers and their workers, it's still an ongoing issue. 

"There's still that fear of judgement from the bosses," she said. "Before COVID the thing that stopped people from asking if they could work from home was trust - they didn't think they would be trusted. Employers were the same they weren't sure if they could trust their people. Trust is a really big element, absolutely."

Overall, the challenges faced by businesses and workers over the year has set us up for more success should the nation face another lockdown. 

Thirty-nine percent of employers believe their business could now run better in the face of another lockdown than it did in the March 2020 alert level 4 lockdown.