Australia’s workplaces have undergone a significant shift during the past two years, and it’s looking like hybrid working is here to stay.
As workplaces and workforces mature in their experiences of hybrid working, business leaders are now looking to ensure their workplaces are sustainable for staff and that they are supported with the right tools and connectivity.
Let’s take a look at how Telstra is making the most of 5G to enable sustainable hybrid working for employees and the business.
Start with sustainability steps
At Telstra, we’ve taken the opportunity to reimagine all the elements and behaviours of work into a sustainable way forward for our people.
Step 1: A cultural mindset change is needed to make hybrid work sustainable. At Telstra we made sure we had the capability and leadership in place to drive and support this change.
Step 2: Build in sustainability in a programmatic way. At Telstra we created a Hybrid Habits program to review how we collaborate and whether we had the right tools and technology for our people. As part of the Hybrid Habits program our people can clock off to ensure they’re not “at work” all the time and tools like Microsoft Viva help team members delineate work to ensure people are making deliberate decisions on healthy boundaries and avoiding burnout.
We’ve also reduced our video meeting times from one hour to 50 minutes to ensure people aren’t stuck in back-to-back meetings during the day. Also, we now challenge ourselves on the purpose of a meeting. Does it have a clear outcome? There should be a clear agenda for every meeting, and we make sure people have equal opportunity to contribute to the meeting, and they are not just for water cooler moments.
It will take time to unlearn old behaviours and build capabilities across your organisation and facilitate the employee wellbeing you need to make hybrid working sustainable.
Step 3: Seek and act upon employee feedback. Don’t discourage criticism from people who want the best hybrid working experience.
“When we think about the future of work in the context of the past year, we already know that technology wasn’t the biggest barrier to remote working. It was culture.”
Alex Badenoch, Group Executive, Transformation, Communications & People, Telstra.
The modern workplace
Hybrid work has definitely changed the concept of the office, but physical office spaces will remain critical for many companies, including Telstra.
We have four key components to our workspace ecosystem. These are:
- Hub. The CBD offices are now used for more collaboration and social connection, instead of a primary place of work.
- Local. Workspaces that are closer to the majority of where our workforce live so people can come together there.
- Home. We successfully mobilised nearly 20,000 people to work from home and to do this we had the infrastructure and flexibility in place for nearly a decade, so it was not new. We also have the MyHomeToolkit to ensure people have access to the home office equipment they need.
- On the go. Our workforce has numerous personas, including sales representatives and field technicians. They are on the go and need to be able to work from remotely from the office.
The concept of the office has changed for the better, and innovative business leaders who are looking to deliver sustainable workplace strategy are also equipping their staff with the best connectivity to thrive in the modern workplace.
In fact, The Hybrid Working in Australia Report commissioned by Telstra, found businesses with hybrid working models have higher income, better productivity and are more innovative.
5G for long-term hybrid work flexibility
5G connectivity is a key foundation for developing a sustainable hybrid workplace.
At Telstra we have been able to leverage 5G to help enable people to have more flexibility and choose where they work.
Not only does 5G help staff work from more places, but it also opens up a world of applications. 5G empowers employers with the infrastructure to service their people with wellness tools and applications, such as Calm for business or integrations in Microsoft Teams.
Majority of the mobile device options available for Telstra staff are 5G-enabled and we have a trial with 5G modems to get people connected at high speed.
With growing coverage around Australia (Telstra’s 5G network already covers more than 77.5% of the population) 5G is not some futuristic technology, it’s available today to help boost your business.
Just like us, Australia’s business leaders have a great opportunity to review how 5G can improve operations and provide employees with the flexibility they need in a hybrid working world. With 5G, hybrid working isn’t just for the big corporates with budgets for infrastructure and cultural change - it can work for an organisation of any size.