Getting our hands dirty to clean up our exchanges
When I received a message from Director of Central Region Grant Stent at 6.30am on Saturday morning telling me that he had started his day on “toilet duty”, I began to worry.
Arriving at Camberwell exchange for the Exchange Clean Up Day I was put to work pretty quickly. Thankfully the tasks I was given made use of my physical attributes (I am 6 foot 8 inches tall) and did not involve “toilet duty”. My first task was to change the light bulbs in the exchange, followed by my version of tagging the wall our building shares with the Thai restaurant next door. And by that I mean I helped put a fresh coat of paint on the wall to cover the existing graffiti.
Exchange Clean Up Day is part of a national program giving Telstra a renewed focus on the appearance and maintenance of our network sites. The exchange maintenance program is all about maintaining our exchanges and similar sites to a much higher standard. A well-maintained exchange sends a strong message to our customers and the community that we are looking after their services for them. It’s also great for our people, because our exchanges are also workplaces for our staff.
So we’ve changed the way we maintain our sites. We have around 22,000 network sites providing services to customers across Australia. Of those, there’s over 5,000 exchanges.
Now, we know we cannot fix everything, but we will be trying to find as many solutions as possible to change the things we can. On Saturday 5 December across the country there were coordinated working-bees to clean over 150 exchanges.
The bulk of these were in New South Wales and Victoria.
Originally we had planned to clean around 200, but we were able to clean quite a few in the lead-up to Saturday. In fact, since first announcing the new maintenance program, before Saturday we had already cleaned over 200 exchanges nationally.
So after Saturday’s working bees, we’ve cleaned around 300 exchanges across the country. And, we plan to clean another 150 before Christmas, bringing the total to 500.
And that’s just what’s in plan – we may do even more. So it really is a coordinated, national program.
And the really positive thing for me was the cross-company teamwork and enthusiasm of everyone involved on Saturday. On Saturday, I was out there in Melbourne cleaning exchanges, and the local TCW team was there lending a hand, too.
And it really does fill you with pride seeing everyone getting together and working together.
We had teams of people there scraping off old paint, mowing lawns, trimming hedges and painting walls and doors
But we didn’t just do work to the outside of the exchanges. Inside our buildings got a spruce-up too.
And it’s amazing what a difference the program has made. Obviously they exchanges look fantastic.
But it also made a real difference to the community… On Saturday, while we were working, people were stopping-in all the time asking us what was going on and saying that it’s great to see us out there taking pride in our buildings.
We expect more positive feedback as we continue to clean more and more sites. And, let’s not forget that our people also live in those communities, so having the exchanges clean and tidy is a real positive for them, too.
So Saturday was a big-bang exercise for us, but it certainly wasn’t the be-all and end-all of the program.
This is an ongoing program to maintain our sites to a much higher standard.
We know we cannot fix everything, but we will be trying to find as many solutions as possible to change the things we can.
Our Communication Technicians, Team Managers and Field Managers are a big part in all this.
Saturday was a great day, but it was just one day. We’ve changed the way we do things and we think that this new way of working will make a difference.
I’d also like to thank everyone who gave-up their time on Saturday to get involved. That includes all the people in Service Delivery as well as everyone else who helped-out.
It really was a great team effort and something that I certainly took pride in.