A commitment to delivering a truly flexible workplace and a great work/life balance for staff has prompted Contact Energy to reduce its head office space in Wellington, releasing up to 5,000sq m of keenly sought CBD vacancy onto the market.
The company employs 350 staff in the capital and has just moved from four levels at 29 Brandon Street in the Harbour City Tower to just one floor covering 1,400sq m.
Phil Humphrey, Associate Director of CBD Leasing in Wellington for Colliers International, says Contact’s staff enjoyed working from home during the Covid-19 lockdowns and continued to enjoy flexibility and choice of workspace.
Productivity was enhanced and so the business decided to make the longer-term commitment to less space and a different way of working.
“Other corporates within certain sectors are assessing flexible working and looking at numbers, impact, space implications and so on. But Contact has been the earliest of these to commit to a work from anywhere philosophy.”
Humphrey says Contact’s decision has freed up welcome space onto the CBD office market where vacancy was close to zero in A-grade and prime quality buildings.
“Working from home doesn’t suit all sectors, so I don’t foresee a drastic impact on CBD vacancy levels and my colleagues in Christchurch and Auckland say they are not experiencing the same in their centres.
“Where it does occur, the initial impact is usually felt by the tenant due to existing lease obligations. But most landlords are not blind to the situation and are largely working constructively with tenants to re-lease vacated space longer term.
“This opportunity expands the variety of choice available in the CBD and is welcome for occupiers. It should not impact current strong market fundamentals.”
Humphrey said the former Contact office space had attracted interest from both corporate and government.
“The reduced Contact CBD headquarters will provide all the usual critical facilities for those needing the office hub when ‘Zoom’ just won’t do.
“Being a ‘modern’ employer, the newly available premises are light, contemporary and high quality, providing all facilities required by staff today who expect things like EV charging car spaces, bike storage, staff kitchen/lunch/meeting facilities and possibly the highest quality showers in the city!”
Christchurch is not experiencing post-Covid downsizing and vacancy is, in fact, reducing as the city becomes busier and tenants return from (post-earthquake) suburban locations.
Neither has Auckland witnessed the working from home impact to a meaningful degree, aside from the introduction of some one or two days a week ‘WFH’ allocations.