Covid-19's outbreak didn't create much luck for business.
But for American-owned Canadian-listed telco giant 2degrees, the pandemic changed planning for a move of more than 700 staff to new offices, enabled a separate division to join HQ staff in town and will result in fewer desks because more staff are working from home.
Mark Aue, 2degrees chief executive, said the business's move from Newmarket to the new under-construction office block 136 Fanshawe St in the CBD provided it with a unique opportunity to shape the way people work.
New Zealand's busiest privately-owned developers, the multi-billion dollar Mansons TCLM, is constructing the new green star-rated block near the Halsey St intersection, opposite the Viaduct Basin.
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In April, 2degrees announced it would lay off 120 staff as part of a wider cost-cutting drive to offset the decline in revenue brought on by the Covid-19 crisis.
The country's third mobile player said then it's working through a range of initiatives to strip out costs and plans to cut its 1,200-strong workforce by a tenth. It's seeking other savings by cutting its capital spending, putting off non-essential projects, imposing a hiring freeze, and renegotiating supplier rates and vendor costs.
Meredith Connell and Fidelity Life will join 2degrees on the ex-House of Haghi rug sale site below the four-building Spark campus which Mansons also developed.
Katherine Cornish, 2degrees head of communications, said the telco was planning floor layouts for next year's move when the pandemic hit.
"We were lucky because we were able to pause and take on board what we've learnt in the last few months, with more people working from home."
So teams are now trialling different ways of working, meaning fewer people in the old existing Newmarket office and a total rethink of floor plans at 136 Fanshawe St.
But when more than 700 staff do shift, they will find a very different layout because they will be able to use the office time more strategically.
"We're taking feedback from that and looping it into what we'll have at the new office, and for our other offices," she said.
And instead of everyone being isolated and distant in these pandemic times, the opposite could happen.
"It's likely that we will end up creating more spaces for collaboration - workshops, team huddles and brainstorms. There will also be zones for different teams to meet when they're in the office," Cornish said.
Desk configuration is now based on which alert level Auckland is in. So, now, we have every other workstation available for use to help with physical distancing guidelines at alert level 2."
That meant an entire new division could join the head office staff, a big change of what had been planned pre-pandemic.
The Auckland care team can also be at Fanshawe St, "an amazing outcome for us – especially culturally," Cornish said.
Currently, 2degrees HQ is Newmarket's George St and Auckland care is not far away but separate and at Khyber Pass Rd. Cornish said it meant a lot to be able to bring those two parts of the business together.
The new 20,000sq m building under construction has two wings with an interconnecting double-height atrium. Two foyers will give access to two lift banks. Floor plates are 1900sq m to 3600sq m.
Cornish said the business had also examined sound mapping which is a concept where building acoustics are assessed to ensure healthy work environments. Quieter areas are also planned for conversations and discussion and even quieter areas for people who need time to focus "on an intense piece of work".
Aue said 2degrees wanted to be the first company in New Zealand to get certification from the United States-based International WELL Building Institute.
To qualify, key elements of a building and an organisation's wellbeing practices are assessed, he said. The new HQ must have enhanced air quality, sound mapping, special lighting design, restorative spaces and other positive wellbeing features, he said.
Rachel Gutter, institute president, said the entity's mission was to bring health and wellness to the forefront of building and organisational practices. 2degrees was an early adopter of that concept in New Zealand, she said.