Two key areas emerged as issues to be dealt with when 60 specialist Auckland Council staff worked from home for a day last week in a worst-case coronavirus test.
Jeff Fahrensohn, the council's field surveying manager, said the trial was successful but a couple of issues emerged which need resolving for some staff.
One was screen size, the other was Wi-Fi.
"We found out about people's ability to cater to the Wi-Fi needs and screen sizes with laptops. We will collate the information we found out and put in a plan to address as much of that as we can," he said.
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Staff working in the council's code compliance and building warrant of fitness areas undertook the trial run.
Some of those people were already well-established to work from home, he said, "due to flexibility of the team and work-life balance".
Yesterday, the Herald reported how Vodafone's six-level Auckland headquarters would almost empty as the telco tests a possible response to coronavirus.
More than 1200 Auckland-based Vodafone permanent staff will work from home today to simulate worst-case Covid-19 scenarios.
Paul Gunn, chief executive of Smales Farm where Vodafone has its national headquarters, said the shift would have an impact but it is only for a day and that business was only a quarter of the office park population.
Around 4500 people work on the site between Takapuna and Wairau Park.
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Koro Dickinson, the council's executive officer said business continuity requirements were being examined.
The council was generally well prepared to work from home or remotely. Most people had laptops that could connect to networks from home and mobile phones were issued in place of landlines.
"We recently did a live test of this when around 3000 council staff needed to relocate from our Albert St building during the NZICC fire response. In this case, our people easily worked from home or from other council buildings," Dickinson said.
"In addition to looking at our business continuity preparedness, we're making sure our people are following Ministry of Health advice, staying away from work if they're unwell and reminding them to wash their hands regularly."
Chris Dibble, the New Zealand head of research and communications at Colliers International in Auckland, said it was inevitable more businesses would consider asking some staff to work from home.
"Not everyone can do this and I wouldn't expect this to be a significant occurrence. Also, some businesses are either unable to or are not set-up for remote working. Health and safety and document security will be paramount considerations for businesses when making these types of decisions. It is a timely reminder for all businesses to review their contingency plans, be prepared and take away some learnings from the current situation," Dibble said.
Landlords were now provided with the opportunity to assist tenants get through the short-term disruptions, he said.
"Keeping calm, acting quickly and finding workable solutions will be key. The focus will be on the fundamentals in real estate markets, which will help to alleviate any short-term disruption and continue to provide long-term benefits," Dibble said.
Auckland Council said in January it was taking a watching brief on coronavirus, ready to act on advice from health agencies.