15 May 2024

Productivity is surging as staff return to office, employers say

12:51 pm on 15 May 2024
No caption

Photo: Unsplash / Sigmond

Employers say worker productivity is surging as more bosses insist that staff return to the office.

A survey by recruiters Robert Half found 70 percent of employers reported increased productivity over the past year, compared to only 36 percent of staff who felt the same.

Robert Half regional director Ronil Singh said the findings from the report - which surveyed 751 hiring managers and workers - differed from Stats NZ data from last year, which saw productivity fall.

He said it may be because employers were changing how staff worked.

"One [factor] will be the return to the office environment for a lot of employers and businesses. We're definitely seeing a request from most employers across New Zealand where they're actually asking for the employees to come back to the office more," Singh said.

"What that does is actually enhances collaboration and innovation. There's also a combination of things like there's been a lot of investment and automation tools and streamlining of processes from a technology point of view."

Singh said restructures and staff cuts may also explain why businesses felt more productive - although staff dissatisfaction may explain why workers did not feel more productive.

He said restructures or cuts to staffing levels meant those who remained potentially faced heavier workloads.

"One way businesses are able to take the pressure off some of these staff is by hiring contract staff ... preventing the burn out and attrition rates."

Despite more businesses asking staff to return to the office, Singh did not believe it was the end to the pandemic-era boom of working from home.

"I don't think it's over," he said.

"I think there needs to be a happy balance between being aware of employee needs and employee experience and operational efficiency.

"I think the employee and employers both have to come to an understanding where you need both."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs