VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff
Manifold Space now has a second office at The Village Mews in Oakura. Pictured is owner Graham Nelson.
An increase in remote working since Covid hit has seen Taranaki’s first coworking space open a new site on the coast.
Manifold Space was opened by Graham Nelson on Devon Street West in New Plymouth in 2015.
Nelson has now opened a branch in the new Village Mews residential and commercial development in Oakura to provide more options for the area’s remote working community.
“With Covid, a lot of people are working from home these days, either remotely or they’ve just set up a home office, and what we’re noticing is that they like working from home, but not exclusively.
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“They suffer from isolation, just the lack of community and connection with people, but also distractions, so the kids are a big issue as well, and so they like to mix things up.”
Around the world, employers are moving towards a more flexible workplace, which means employees can work from anywhere with WiFi internet rather than having to be in an office.
Manifold offers different membership options including hourly, daily, and up to a week with the option to cover both locations.
All options include unlimited super-fast broadband, meeting room access, tea and coffee and free printing.
Nelson said he’s seen an increase in people using the space two or three days a week as well as their home office.
“Some people choose to work in a team because they are trying to balance their professional and personal life.
“Our assumption was that there are a lot of people here who choose this sort of coastal lifestyle and don’t necessarily enjoy the daily commute to New Plymouth.”
And it’s proving popular, Nelson said, with people who usually work at the New Plymouth site choosing to work from Oakura a few days a week.
However, opening last month at the height of the Omicron wave was always going to be tough, Nelson said.
“As people feel a little more secure about where they spend their time, there have definitely been more inquiries.”
Nelson said Covid had accelerated co-working and remote working in Taranaki.
As everyone has to work from home, it means employers have become more comfortable with distributing staff around the location, he said.
Nelson has had people at Manifold working for companies around the world.
“We notice that people in the centers are thinking, ‘Why am I living here when I could live in a place that offers a better lifestyle, like Taranaki?’
“So we’re seeing a lot of people moving from all over while still keeping their jobs.”