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Andrew Dickens: After 2 years, how many will want to come back into the office?

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Apr 2022, 4:19pm
(Photo / Getty)
(Photo / Getty)

Andrew Dickens: After 2 years, how many will want to come back into the office?

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Apr 2022, 4:19pm

Today I took public transport into town and wandered through the CBD. 

I was pretty excited. We are now at orange. You can have as many people as you like inside a building.  So, the CBD workers should be streaming back. Everything should be banging. Shops humming and bars thumping. 

But it wasn't. 

It was worse than ever. 

It was deader than a red traffic light Tuesday. 

Now, this could just be because we're on the edge of Easter. Indeed, the advice from my CEO is that most of our workers will start to return to the office after the holidays. 

But the question remains after 2 years, how many will want to come back. And with proof that productivity is not affected by their attendance in the office, why should they? 

The question was asked of Chris Hipkins this morning. 

If you want to get the nation back and thriving then shouldn't you be ordering civil servants back to the office to kick start a CBD recovery. 

The question could also have been asked of all our mayors. 

Let's get the council workers back in the office to save our town and city centres. 

But I don't think many will be coming back and nor should they. 

This 2-year Covid experience has highlighted to many the inefficient way we worked and how illogical it was. 

Why did so many of us drag ourselves through nightmare morning commutes, burning untold fossil fuels to sit around gossiping in offices from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

Advocates of climate change policies will be pointing out that we have blundered into positive action by staying home. 

CEOs and politicians will also be eyeing up the savings to be made with smaller town centre premises. 

This leaves us with underutilised town centres that can turn into undesirable precincts in 10 seconds flat. 

So, the challenges for urban planners are becoming more evident every day.   

Meanwhile love your town centre, because if you don't no one will.