During the global health crisis, it was widely believed that the concept of the workplace had fundamentally changed, and Kiwis would never revert to the working habits of pre-pandemic, particularly regarding frequency in the office.
Three years on, a research study by leading out-of-home media company JCDecaux New Zealand into the mobility of New Zealanders, has revealed that the belief of a new workplace normal emerging after the pandemic was overstated. The research shows overwhelming the majority of New Zealanders are back on the move and back to their workplaces. At least 89 percent of the population leave home three or more days a week, with 76 percent agreeing they are back to ‘pretty much normal’, pre-pandemic working habits.
Mike Watkins, JCDecaux New Zealand Country Head said, “As soon as New Zealanders could move post-lockdowns, they did. Traffic levels are now exceeding pre-pandemic benchmarks and with our CBDs thriving, Out-of-Home advertising is back stronger than ever.”
Victoria Parsons, Senior Insights Specialist JCDecaux New Zealand added, “One change post-pandemic is increased workplace flexibility in terms of day part, leading to not less, but different patterns of movement. The mobility data indicates that the most impressions for city outbound sites can be experienced during 4pm and 5pm versus the traditional 5.30pm end of day race to the motorway. In the morning, busy commute periods continue later, somedays until close to 10am. People are coming in later, leaving earlier, or doing part days vs the standard eight-hour workday.
“The programmatic capabilities across the JCDecaux network provide dynamic, relevant engagement opportunities for brands to connect with their target audience at every stage of their more flexible working week. Recent campaigns such as My Food Bag, target evening commuters planning meals. Heart of the City targeted morning commuters to encourage evening activities in the city. Brands can plan cost effective Out-of-Home campaigns ensuring optimal relevance for contextual persuasion. As JCDecaux’s data offering evolves, we can provide more predictive modelling regarding days of the week or times of day, to ensure the most effective outcomes in terms of reach for our partners.”
JCDecaux New Zealand has been tracking population mobility since 2021, and work from home habits since mid-2022. Findings show that 58 percent of New Zealanders have returned to workplaces for 100 percent of hours worked. Three in 10 of kiwis work a hybrid location model, with some work from home included each week. However, of this group, the majority spend more than 50 percent of their time at their workplace. Work from home is a support act to work habits that are similar to what they were pre-pandemic. Statistics New Zealand stats show that 16 percent of Kiwis worked from home, before 2020; the tracking shows that only 10 percent of people who could return to workplaces have significantly changed how they work.
JCDecaux’s research also highlights that as well as being on the move in their day-to-day lives, New Zealanders are embracing international travel again. There was much pent-up demand from a long period of restrictions, as well as many credits from cancelled travel Kiwis had to use. In the last three months, 21 percent have travelled internationally. Popular routes to Australia and the Islands, to re-connect with family or holiday, are booming, says the travel industry. For Christmas 2022, Samoa demand was 40 percent higher than pre-COVID and Rarotonga 19 percent higher than 2019. Given many international flights transit through a JCDecaux Airport (Christchurch, Auckland and Queenstown), this increased demand is reflected in passenger numbers and thus modelled reach for JCDecaux airport touchpoints is strong. JCDecaux’s research reveals that 45 percent of Kiwis are planning an international trip in 2023, with 12% having already booked and 11 percent close to booking.
The research summary is available here.