Remember when hot-desking and sprawling open-plan offices were the way forward?

Now it's break-out spaces, rotating teams, working from home and smaller offices where people collaborate.

The fight against Covid-19 provided the biggest shake-up and reshaping of the workspace New Zealand has seen.

This week AMP Wealth Management announced it was moving from its 2500sq m Auckland and Wellington offices for smaller offices in the suburbs. It has around 350 staff.

Chief executive Blair Vernon said a more flexible workplace had already been on the cards but Covid-19 accelerated those plans.

In Auckland, the company occupies about two and a half floors of the AMP building on the corner of Albert and Customs Sts but is now planning a future-focused workspace in Mt Wellington to support business growth and the wellbeing of workers.

"We don't see the need any longer to drag everyone into the central city for work," Vernon said.

"We still plan to meet to collaborate face-to-face but that can be done outside the city."

Blair Vernon of AMP said worker wellbeing was behind the decision to move from city offices. Photo / Supplied
Blair Vernon of AMP said worker wellbeing was behind the decision to move from city offices. Photo / Supplied

Vernon said lockdown gave staff the taste of a more balanced life and they were keen to hang onto it.

"I was speaking to one of my team and before lockdown, she spent an hour and a quarter each way going to and from work, she was gone before her children got up in the morning," he said.

"We want to give the flexibility so our people can book at their local dentist instead of having to go during their workday in the city."

Vernon said increased productivity during lockdown gave the reassurance needed to cement the work-from-home model firmly into the company's future.

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AMP is not alone.

All of the corporates spoken to by the Weekend Herald were making significant changes to the way they worked.

2degrees had signed the lease on a new building before lockdown but it would now be designed to consider changes because of Covid-19.

Jodie Shelley of 2degrees said the company's new building would be designed with Covid-19 changes in mind. Photo / Supplied
Jodie Shelley of 2degrees said the company's new building would be designed with Covid-19 changes in mind. Photo / Supplied

Chief of people Jodie Shelley said staff were currently in the office for two days a week and the future routine was being mapped out.

There were teams that needed to be in the office fulltime but others would only be in on Tuesday and Thursdays.

The company was investing to further improve the set-up for remote working call centre staff.

At Vodafone's Auckland offices more than half of the team are working from home.

Individual staff members are expected to spend 20-40 per cent of their time working remotely.

Vodafone NZ chief people officer Jodie King said the introduction of the new "Vlife" app was a key tool to manage Vodafone's flexible workplace.

"It allows them to flag where they are working from, book a carpark and a desk if in the office, and putting them in touch with their people leader should they have any concerns with their health," King said.

She said it was "too soon" to say if there would be a change to the physical office size because of the substantial number working from home.

Robyn Worthington, ASB's executive general manager of people, said the company would continue to allow people to work from home "where it works for them".

The company went from an already flexible workplace to having 4000 people successfully working from home.

"We believe there are elements of our new ways of working which have been positive for our people including flexibility, virtual meetings and technology-enabled collaboration that we'd like to keep going," Worthington said.

The office space remained open-plan although hot-desking was out and fixed seating in.

At Solarcity, lessons from lockdown saw an overhaul of how the office was used.

Marjam Oord said the company now operated with a teams-based office rotation so people worked 2-3 days in the office and the balance from home.

With fewer people, the layout changed to incorporate more collaboration and break-out spaces using modular furniture.

"The open-plan office environment now has the ability to be changed to suit the needs of the teams who are working there on any given day," she said.

Andrew Barnes, the champion of the four-day week, said it was positive that businesses were "using the time to reimagine their workplace offering".

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Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes fielded plenty of 4-day-week calls during lockdown. Photo / Supplied
Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes fielded plenty of 4-day-week calls during lockdown. Photo / Supplied

He said the work-from-home option had "broken down the barriers for managers to trust their staff to not be in the office and to be self-managing of workload."

That had set the foundation for companies to go even further and implement a four-day week.

"We spent much of lockdown talking to companies around New Zealand and the world about how they can structure a four-day week programme post-Covid-19," he said.