7 Mar 2023

'An employee drive': People still keen on working from home, survey finds

6:51 am on 7 March 2023
Man working on notebook, with a fresh cup of tea or coffee. Home work concept.

More survey respondents than last year believed their workplace culture had improved due to the increased number of people working from home. Photo: 123RF

Three years after New Zealand's first lockdown the popularity in working from home has continued, with an increasing number of people wanting to swap their office commute for a remote login.

The designated manager for the .nz country domain, surveyed 1,001 New Zealanders aged 18 and over for its annual Internet Insights.

It showed around six in 10 people worked in roles that allowed them to work from home and about 78 percent worked remotely some or all of the time.

While this was down from last year's 83 percent, more than half of all respondents, 54 percent, who could work from home wanted to do so more than they currently could.

"Half of New Zealanders report that a barrier for them working from home more often is that they have to work in the office because they are required to for a certain amount of time (a new barrier this year)."

The report said respondents who worked from home very infrequently, or not at all, were the most eager to do it more.

And a net 53 percent of respondents who could work from home would move cities in search of cheaper, better housing and an improved lifestyle if they could keep their current job and work remotely.

The report said that was a significant increase from a net 45 percent in 2021.

InternetNZ chief executive Vivien Maidaborn said it was food for thought for employers.

"This is becoming more of an employee drive," she said.

"I think it asks of employers, how to respond culturally, how to respond to make it a positive for productivity, make it a positive for teamwork."

Compared to last year, more respondents believed their workplace culture had improved due to the increased number of workers working from home, a net 30 percent compared to 19 percent last year.

The number of New Zealanders with a fibre connection at home has continued to increase to 64 percent in 2022, up 2 percent on 2021.

"Some groups of New Zealanders are less likely than average to have home access to fibre: those living in the North Island outside the two main cities, those with lower household incomes, and/or with a long -term disability or impairment that makes it more difficult to do everyday tasks," Maidaborn said.

Online security had been weighing on people's minds - half of respondents who used their personal details on the internet were extremely or very concerned about the security of their data.

A net 65 percent of respondents decided not to use an online service because of security or privacy concerns in the last year.

Some groups in Aotearoa, most notably women and Pacific peoples, said they were much more concerned about certain aspects of the internet.

Three-quarters of respondents were extremely or very concerned about children accessing inappropriate material online, at a net 74 percent.

Online crime, security of personal data, cyber bullying, and threats to privacy also topped respondents' concerns.

"In general, older New Zealanders, women, and Pacific peoples are more concerned about the top-rated concerns of the internet compared to New Zealanders on average," the report said.

Respondents were significantly more likely to be extremely concerned about people becoming socially or physically isolated from each other compared to last year, at 19 percent compared to 15 percent.

"There is an overall trend [to] think the internet is just slightly less of a positive thing then they thought it was last year," Maidaborn said.

"New Zealanders are becoming perhaps more mature in their assessment of the great things the internet offers, and also the things that are concerning, and are reaching a bit of a balance in that."

The research was commissioned by InternetNZ and carried out by Kantar Public.

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