Rise of hybrid office models and the new normal
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to the workplace and forced organisations to adapt to a new way of working. Employee expectations have changed as more employees want to work away from the traditional office to a hybrid work environment.
Hybrid office models, where people can choose to either work remotely or from the office on any given day, have become the new normal. While remote working is not a new concept, organisations have had to scale quickly to a hybrid working model to maintain employee productivity, enhance employee experience, and adhere to strict safety protocols.
Keeping workplaces safe and understanding how spaces are being utilised
As more employees start returning to office spaces to collaborate with their teams, an understanding of how spaces are being utilised has never been more important. However, having little to no visibility about the number of people on-premises and spaces being utilised is just one of the challenges facing organisations. Other challenges include:
- Lack of information about the number of employees at offices and the total occupancy of available spaces, which can lead to the breaking the safety protocols and overuse of facilities.
- Failure to efficiently manage office spaces due to insufficient information on its usage risks an outbreak.
- Significant CAPEX and OPEX costs for property, lighting, and air conditioning for spaces that are not being used.
Creating future workplaces with myWorkplace at Telstra offices
As one of the biggest organisations in Australia, Telstra recognised the need to build and implement a digital enterprise office management solution to help teams return to the office in a safe way.
myWorkplace helps employees book office spaces and helps businesses better understand how their employees are using these spaces. The purpose of the employee application is to seamlessly book spaces and effortlessly understand occupancy and how spaces are being utilised.
“We found that upwards of 25 to 30% of all forward bookings were cancelled, which was something that we didn't anticipate. Now, with the help of myWorkplace, we have the ability to accurately forecast how much space we need to make available for our employees, so we are only opening the spaces we require in near real-time.”
Darren Whitney, Property and Fleet Executive at Telstra
Available on iOS, Android, and web-based version, this easy-to-use and easy-to-implement solution offers organisations the ability to manage their spaces to make well-informed and strategic decisions based on real data from bookings and occupancy.
- myWorkplace employee application has been rolled out to 56,000+ users for desk, car space, and site attendance booking across 90 buildings and sites. This was seamlessly done through a force push of the app to company mobile phones and a desktop app available to all employees including contractors.
- Teams were informed about the application and its benefits with the help of a change management process. myWorkplace enabled employees to safely return to the office by booking their desk, car space, and site attendance securely.
“When we think about the future, having the ability to connect our occupancy to building services means we are only going to be running the services we need in the areas that we occupy in the building at any point in time,” Darren said.
A digital enterprise office management solution
Telstra myWorkplace consists of an administrator application and sensors which provide near real-time data about building occupancy and space utilisation. The sensors detect movement and connect to a web application to view real-time and historical data for further analysis. Data collected provides property teams with a near real-time view of occupancy and complete visibility of the number of employees across floors and buildings. This enables customers to meet the occupancy guidelines of both the organisation and government.
“In near real-time, myWorkplace gives us the ability to manage and forecast occupancy. This benefits in so many ways as we shift from managing occupancy in a reactive way to being more predictive. Think about the ability to manage employee experience when they land at your workplace and moderating cleaning and waste services, right through to being able to more dynamically manage building services in the future to support actual occupancy. This technology will lead to further space and rent reductions, reduced property operating costs and supporting the reduction in absolute emissions.” Darren said.
With the help of booking data available in the admin application, property managers can:
- Create a work environment that optimises space and promotes a healthy collaborative culture.
- Reduce costs by switching off underutilised spaces which help reduce energy and cleaning costs.
- Direct deep cleaning efforts to heavily occupied areas.
Currently, Telstra Property have 328 sensors and are scaling to 500 to monitor occupancy of building and floors at key Telstra offices. myWorkplace has been rolled out at several Telstra locations, including 242 Exhibition St, Melbourne and Varsity Lakes and Gold Coast, with more offices coming online in Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, and Adelaide.
The myWorkplace solution has enabled property managers to better understand the utilisation of spaces and save costs, with property and facility managers utilising the myWorkplace administrator application to view data and insights on booking and sensor data in order to make better informed decisions. These insights have assisted Telstra Property in achieving the wider business goal of reducing property costs (lease, rental and amenities) by 10 to 15% on a year-on-year basis and create significant opportunity into the future as we return in hybrid ways of working.
“It is a really exciting development for all corporate real estate professionals. Whether you are a building owner, tenant, or an asset manager, the myWorkplace app can translate to all those areas. To book the desk we need when we need them, and to manage both the soft services and the hard services in a building based on occupancy is a capability that we have not had previously. When we think about the fact that we almost have a portfolio of about 500,000 square meters across the country, the potential benefits are quite significant,” Darren concluded.
For organisations with a real estate footprint looking to return employees to work safely and improve productivity, Telstra’s myWorkplace solution can help enhance employee experience and reduce operating costs.
MyWorkplace is helping organisations create a digital workplace for the future on Australia’s largest IoT and 5G network.