Eighteen months ago, our call centre teams packed up and moved home. It took just three weeks for us to completely redefine our contact centre model. This is a fundamental shift, which gives our customer service teams flexible working opportunities. We’ve also committed to answering all voice calls in Australia by the end of June 2022, and with our contact centre teams at home, they could be answering calls from down your street or over the back fence.

Unlike office workers, moving contact centre teams home meant we had to create a bespoke operating system to allow our teams to access Telstra systems remotely. We also needed to ensure each agent had the right tech, a secure connection and a few other security checks to get them online at home.

While Telstra employees have long been able to work flexibly, our customer support centres were one area of our business that was an outlier. This move has allowed Telstra call centre team members to redefine how they work and embrace a better work life balance – both here and overseas.

We are a leader in the future workplace as we can recruit based on talent rather than location – and that means more opportunities for regional Australia.

We’ve now fully expanded the working from home tools for our staff in India and the Philippines which keeps our teams safer, reducing their risk of community transmission by eliminating their commute to the office. Working from home also gives them the flexibility to care for friends and family members as both countries manage a high number of COVID-19 cases.

In Australia, we’ve seen many staff take the opportunity to relocate to be closer to family, to change their lifestyle and in one case to be able to train for the Tokyo Olympics while working from home.

We’ve also seen firsthand how being able to work from home has helped our agents have a better rapport with our customers, as the conversation sometimes evolves from a particular issue to our common experiences and sharing tips on working from home in the pandemic.

This new way of working for contact centres is something we’ll continue to evolve as we work towards having all consumer and small business calls answered in Australia by the end of June 2022.