If you find moving house daunting, imagine shifting 1200 staff from five Auckland separate sites to new premises.

That is the 10-week task now under way by New Zealand's largest it service provider, the privately owned Datacom.

It is now managing the country's biggest personnel corporate relocation of its Auckland office into new six-level premises.

Vernon Kay, Datacom systems' Auckland director, said staff had started the "migration" in groups from the CBD including locations such as Federal St and Vincent St to the Wynyard Quarter and the shift was not due to finish till next month.


Staff are moving into the new 17,000sq m $88.6m premises built by Fletcher Construction, owned by Goodman Property Trust on Viaduct Harbour Holdings' land opposite Air New Zealand's headquarters on the Gaunt St/Daldy St intersection.

Datacom has 130 car parks, 120 bike parks and eight motor cycle parks in the new block. It is occupying 13,500sq m but not the top or sixth floor. Around 363 staff will occupy levels one to five, with vast floor plates of around 2600sq m.

Kay said the business had capacity to expand to 1500 staff in the new block. Leases are long: An initial 15 years, with three rights of renewal, each of six years.

Architectus designed the 5 green star-certified building and Kay said Gaze designed the interiors. The IT business headquarters remains on Jervois Quay in Wellington.

"A number of our key customers are at Wynyard Quarter such as ASB, Fonterra and Air New Zealand and key technology partners such as Microsoft, HP and Dell/EMC," a Datacom statement said.

Internal office spaces have high acoustic and lighting quality.
Internal office spaces have high acoustic and lighting quality.

Kay said most staff would not "hot-desk" but around 30 per cent would "rove", meaning they move desks and take their items to their desks from a storage locker in a tote box.

"Hot desking has negative connotations. It's become quite a negative thing for staff. We've allowed staff to decide," Kay said. Furniture has been shifted from existing buildings where possible and re-used in the new offices.

A break-out area in the new building.
A break-out area in the new building.

A screen-free darkened sanctuary or quiet area, strong natural light qualities, acoustic features making office areas quiet, flexible seminar spaces, a game zone with large flat-screens, 180-seat staff cafe and an open-play floor layout are some of the new office features.

"There are no offices for anybody in the whole building," Kay said.

The open-plan layout was offset by 100 breakout areas for one-to-one discussions and informal meetings. Thirty single-person booths and a library are other features.

Seminar areas can take 30, 60 or 90 people, due to movable walls.

Informal areas flanked by green walls in the new building.
Informal areas flanked by green walls in the new building.

Annual rent payments are being kept secret but the business has $1b-plus revenue and employs more than 4900 people.

Asked about why such a traditional office design and appearance was chosen, Kay said Datacom had looked at more radical spaces but those were all rejected: "It was just not going to work for Datacom," he said referring to rain noise causing issues in one office looked at. "We've got to have an environment that works financially."

One major architectural practice had "laughed at our budget", Kay said.

"We started looking seven years ago but in earnest five years ago," Kay said, telling how 125 Queen St - the ex-BNZ building - was considered but floor plates were found to be too small which would have resulted in a lack of staff connectivity.

Project Tahi started on May 12 and won't finish till later next month.