How escaping the big city crush to the regions could benefit your business
The whole idea of office working has been turned on its head with cloud computing and co-working spaces making it possible for employees and business owners/managers to work from anywhere in the world and still be connected to their teams.
Digital nomads have taken this concept to the extreme with online marketers, software and app developers and copywriters – among others – successfully operating from their laptops wherever the wind takes them. Give them a Wi-Fi connection and a healthy dose of self-motivation and they’re in business.
But for those business owners with families and a desire to put down roots in one place, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and even Queenstown are becoming less appealing thanks to rising house prices, escalating commercial rental costs, commuter traffic woes and compromised lifestyles due to all of these factors.
Regional New Zealand is providing a tangible solution with, for now at least, a raft of available quality office space without big city swing tags, easier journeys to work and more opportunity to get into the residential property market for employees.
Many businesses do not need to be physically located close to their clients and indeed, with clients throughout the country, some businesses could be better off based in smaller centres.
Even the bigger corporates are seeing the benefits of regional New Zealand with Brother International (NZ) Limited and Trustpower’s head offices now in the Tauranga CBD, and software accountancy firm Xero opening a new office in Hawke's Bay to allow their staff the opportunity to move to the region.
This month, the product development manager of Auckland-based tech’ company The Straker Group, will move to Gisborne and it is anticipated that many of the company’s staff – both in New Zealand and offshore – will follow suit. A survey undertaken by the company showed that regional New Zealand was their employees’ preference for a head office given the lifestyle opportunities and affordability of living.
Benefits of a business move to the regions include:
· lower overheads, rents and OPEX
· wider range of business and personal accommodation opportunities
· possible Local Government grants or hand-ups through regional growth initiatives
· the opportunity to help “grow” regional economies
· lifestyle choices
· easier commutes
· Broadband rollouts meaning internet connectivity is on a par with big cities.
There could be downsides such as more restrictive flight schedules, smaller pool of potential staff and in some cases, physical distance from clients and other professionals – however, the cost-benefit analysis may prove to outweigh these potential negatives.
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