Education Payroll, the government-owned company responsible for paying staff and teachers at around 2,500 schools around New Zealand, has incorporated a flexible workplace model as part of its business continuity strategy.
The organisation has signed an agreement with Regus that will allow it to move its employees to any flexible workspace in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin in case of an emergency.
The agreement gives Education Payroll guaranteed office space, within 24 hours, for up to 70 of its staff, to ensure the organisation’s critical services continue.
“Hopefully, we will never have to avail ourselves of the services,” said Arlene White, CEO at Education Payroll, “but it’s nice to have them there as an insurance if something does happen in Wellington again similar to the Kaikoura earthquake where everyone was scrambling to get space and get up and running again.”
Education Payroll pays out around $170 million per fortnight, and $4.4 billion each year, to teachers and school staff.
“Under all the legislative authorities delegated to me, it is my responsibility to have a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan, and that includes providing space so we can deliver the core services we provide, even in the event of a disaster,” explained White.
“We needed an alternative site in the event of a disaster or something happening where we couldn’t get into our current premises, which is a single site in Wellington"
The agreement with Regus means Education Payroll staff will have laptops, internet access and phone lines if needed.
White said staff will use whichever technology services are required to enable them to access the Education Payroll systems, including data disaster recovery options if needed, via a virtual private network.
“It’s like a basic insurance plan,” said White. “We pay an annual fee, much like an insurance premium, which guarantees 24-hour access to 70 seats in whichever location across New Zealand so that we can continue to deliver our services."
White said among the factors they considered was the price for the service, and that it will allow them to set up and be running in 24 hours in different locations across the country.
White said the Ministry of Education has also taken space in Regus Plimmer Towers in Wellington.
“They offer us a service that we need and want," she added.