Otago Daily Times

Voda­fone look­ing to sublease 1ha space

- ANNE GIB­SON Vodafone · New Zealand · Auckland Region · Christchurch · Air New Zealand · Greater Auckland · Gartner Research

AUCK­LAND: One of New Zealand’s largest cor­po­rates wants to sub­let half its Auck­land and Christchur­ch of­fice space be­cause hun­dreds of staff are work­ing from home.

So many Voda­fone NZ staff now don’t come into the of­fice reg­u­larly that the busi­ness has de­cided to try to quit about 10,000sq m or 1ha of floor space, hunt­ing for sub­lessees to ful­fil rent com­mit­ments which ex­tend out a quar­ter of a cen­tury, till 2046 in one case.

Chief peo­ple of­fi­cer Jodie King said com­mer­cial of­fice space needs had changed as a re­sult of the pan­demic, so much so that the com­pany no longer needed so many vast floors of of­fices.

‘‘On av­er­age, around half of all staff work from home and this fluc­tu­ates depend­ing on the day of the week,’’ she said.

‘‘As part of our on­go­ing re­sponse to the im­pacts of Covid­19, and to re­flect that the way we work has changed, Voda­fone NZ has just en­gaged CBRE and Col­liers to sub­lease a por­tion of our of­fice space in Auck­land and Christchur­ch,’’ Ms King said.

Pre­pan­demic, more than 1000 staff and about 500 con­trac­tors worked in­side Smales Farm’s In­nov8 Auck­land, 74 Ta­harota Rd, Taka­puna. Voda­fone leases around 14,000sq m of this glass­fronted ex­Tel­straClear build­ing in the prom­i­nent site on the cor­ner of North­cote Rd.

In­quiries in­di­cate it could go for $400/sq m net ex­clud­ing op­er­at­ing ex­penses. That means Voda­fone could save about $4 mil­lion in an­nual rent if it suc­ceeded with its leas­ing.

Ms King said fur­ther staff and con­trac­tors worked at In­nov8 Christchur­ch, where Voda­fone leased about 7000sq m of of­fices at 213­221 Tuam St.

‘‘We’re will­ing to dis­cuss ex­act space with the right busi­ness so we’re open to all in­ter­est,’’ Ms King said.

Covid­19 had changed work­places. Dig­i­tal adop­tion had been tur­bocharged and other busi­nesses had seen an ac­cel­er­a­tion of flex­i­ble and re­mote work­ing, Ms King said.

‘‘We be­lieve these changes are here to stay,’’ she said.

Work­ing from home was more preva­lent over­seas, with a sur­vey by Gart­ner show­ing 82% of re­spon­dents in­tended to per­mit re­mote work­ing some of the time as em­ploy­ees re­turned to the work­place and 47% said they in­tended to al­low em­ploy­ees to work re­motely full­time, she said.

‘‘On av­er­age, just 60% of our Auck­land team mem­bers are in the of­fice on a busy day and around 50% in Christchur­ch. This means there are lots of free desks across our floors so we’re aim­ing to bet­ter utilise this space,’’ she said, re­fer­ring to sub­let­ting.

More Voda­fone peo­ple were ap­ply­ing to work per­ma­nently from a re­gional lo­ca­tion, go­ing to head of­fice only when needed, mostly for meet­ings.

— The New Zealand Her­ald

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