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Tag: future-ways-of-working

Challenging the next generation of innovative thinkers

Tech and Innovation

Posted on August 22, 2019

4 min read

Rapid advances in technology are fundamentally changing the nature of work – from the jobs that exist to the way work is done. Research by the Committee for Economic Development (CEDA) estimates almost 40 per cent of jobs that exist today have a moderate to high likelihood of disappearing in the next 10 to 15 years. On the flip slide, there will also be jobs that don’t yet exist. All of which makes preparing for the future of work critical.

Understandably, when many people think about the skills needed in the future, they think about coding, software engineering and cyber security. What you might not immediately consider are some of the human skills that will be important. We’ll be living in a software and social future where a combined STEM and social sciences background will be crucial ingredients for success. Think communication, complex problem solving, creativity, collaboration and emotional intelligence.

For example, building the world’s best cloud or AI technology will be important. But so will be finding the best way to collaborate – by leveraging multidisciplinary teams and partnerships, within companies or across companies, to drive new revenue and market opportunities for the businesses they are a part of. In the same vein, being able to analyse data will be important, but so too will the ability to interpret it, make informed assumptions and be able to communicate it in a way that is easily understood and applicable to customer requirements.

We’re committed to building a future-ready workforce and helping equip the next generation with the skills they’ll need. As part of this, we recently partnered with the University of Technology Sydney to give students insight into the disruptions facing businesses across industries and challenge them to test and explore how an organisation could build an inclusive and future-ready workforce.

Split into three groups, 150 students from the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation were asked to outline how they would build an engaged future workforce, considering career opportunity and growth, diversity and inclusion, and the role education partnerships would play. 

UTS Student Challenge
Claudia Pilon-Summons tells the Telstra panel how her team worked together, admitting that doing a group Nutbush showed the value of play and helped the team work better together.

In considering career opportunity and growth, the first group focused on career strategies and recommended a skills platform that would facilitate lateral moves into other areas of an organisation beyond team boundaries. Part of their consideration was also creating a safe environment where it would be okay to try something new like moving into a totally different role and failing in doing so.

The second group looked at workplace diversity and inclusion. A big part of their focus was the role of inclusive language in improving culture, such as referring to ‘balanced’ teams over ‘diverse’ teams; ‘mentors’ over ‘managers’ – and they pitched algorithmic hot desking to reshuffle social groups and enable natural diversity.

UTS Student Challenge
Aston presents division two’s approach to maintaining diversity in an organisation undergoing great change.

The challenge’s third group looked at how businesses could partner with education institutions to attract and retain diverse talent. Part of their proposal included immersing students and employees in transdisciplinary teams that focused on rotations and projects that build breadth of experience to develop in-demand skills.

UTS Student Challenge
Phoebe Wynn-Jones and Luke Castaldi led the group in an exercise demonstrating the process of self-organisation showing that while the vision may be clear, the path to get there isn’t.

The students used creative thinking, innovation and complex problem-solving – capabilities that are highly valued now and will be into in the future.

Thank you to the students from UTS for stepping up to the challenge. Your recommendations showed the importance of embracing technology, making diversity and inclusion central to business thinking, and understanding social trends and employee needs to adapt and be future-ready.

Considering challenges like this will help future Australian business leaders prepare for disruptions, and understand how those disruptions will flow on to change an organisation, its workplace culture and employee expectations.

We look forward to continuing to partner with a range of education institutions – from schools to vocational education providers and universities – to build the skills needed for the future and a strong talent pipeline for Australia.  

The future belongs to positive people

Business and Enterprise

Posted on December 11, 2015

2 min read

From work to lifestyle and life-long learning, Bernard Salt is optimistic about the future.

The workplace culture of the future is almost here, thanks to technology.

Technology is empowering people in Australia to move from structured to flexible workplaces, promising sociability and connectivity like never before, according to KPMG partner, demographer and futurist Bernard Salt.

Here are five reasons he is optimistic about our technologically enhanced future:

Australians will use technology to improve lifestyle

According to Salt Australians have a great track record of adopting technology to boost their lifestyle and he believes this capacity will continue as we see new devices, vehicles and networks emerge around the world.

Technology will make work more flexible

The future is about flexibility as the pace of the workforce evolves to fit needs and desires. This means workers will have greater control over the time and place they work, offering lifestyle advantages and greater productivity, Salt says.

Technology will deliver diverse career opportunities

Being adaptable to change and new challenges will future-proof your career, Salt says. “You need to be articulate, you need to be social, you need to be fluid.”

Technology will enable life-long learning

A thriving career will be based on a process of upskilling, reskilling and refining. “If we are moving into a high-tech, knowledge-worker industry and economy, then it’s only natural that the workers of the future must be continually refining and upgrading their skills base,” Salt says.

The future belongs to positive people

A prosperous future lies in creativity, technology and positivity, Salt says. “If you’re up for the challenge and you have a positive view of the world and how you can fit into that world, then you will fly in the workforce of the future.”

Unlock the positive potential of your workforce with enterprise mobility solutions.

 

This article originally appeared on Telstra In:Sight

Meditation: Out of the commune and into the boardroom

Business and Enterprise

Posted on October 7, 2015

4 min read

Meditation provides a ream of benefits for business leaders, including boosted concentration and focus, lower stress and the ability to make better decisions by seeing situations more clearly.

The ability to focus on the task at hand is a huge advantage for anyone in business, especially senior executives. It’s a discovery David Michie, best-selling author of Hurry Up and Meditate and Buddhism for Busy People made in the 1990s while working for a public relations company in London.

Beset by allergies and under high levels of stress, Michie found he was getting extraordinarily angry about things that were beyond his control. Having tried a range of cures through traditional medicine, he turned to a naturopath in an attempt to find help. The answer was not what he expected – the naturopath suggested he try meditation.

“I’m not a tree-hugging person who dropped out of society, I’m a normal corporate being,” Michie says. “But I decided to give it a go for six weeks, principally for stress management. But it achieved so much more.”

Michie began by spending 10 minutes a day following a guided meditation, and committed to doing this every day for six weeks. Although he noticed an almost immediate improvement in his moods, and capacity to focus, it wasn’t until he forgot to meditate one day that he realised the positive impact it was having.

meditation

“I was walking to work one day, and everything seemed to be going wrong. I was splashed with mud at a building site, then I had to wait too long for the train, and when it arrived it was really full, and I was just getting more and more angry about things,” Michie says. “Then I thought, why am I so upset? Why is everything making me angry today, and I realised it was because I hadn’t meditated for about three days. That’s when I realised what a positive impact it was having.”

As Michie, and other high-performing professionals, have realised meditation allows practitioners to build up a protective barrier against those aspects of life which are beyond our control.

“Although you can’t control the world around you,” Michie says. “Meditation empowers you to control your response to it.”

Michie now helps other executives to integrate meditation into their daily routines to improve work performance and wellbeing. In addition to taking time out for guided mediation he suggests business people use the first ring of their phone as a cue to take a mindful breath before lifting the handset.

This is a lesson Adele Beachley learned while looking for techniques to combat stress-related insomnia. Beachley, who held senior roles in IT and telecommunication companies throughout the Asia-Pacific region since 2004, began meditation along with a range of other techniques, in order to combat stress and improve her sleep.

“The challenge as a high-power executive is that you’ve got so much going on it can be difficult to drill down into the most relevant details in order to make the right decision,” Beachley says.

“Meditation makes it possible to clear your mind and think with clarity. That’s why it helps you make the right decisions.”

Beachley has gone so far as to attend meditation retreats where participants spend 10 days in silence and wake at 4am to meditate.

“It’s amazing what happens in this 10-day cycle, where you don’t have contact with anybody from the outside world,” Beachley says. “It lets you carve out a space in your mind and think more clearly in other areas as well.”

Michie went on to author a number of books on the benefits of meditation, including Why Mindfulness is Better than Chocolate. He says the benefits of meditation for busy corporate people are manifold.

“We all have thoughts that are not actually facts, and through meditation it’s possible to become less wedded to those thoughts, so we can begin to cut through and gain a more accurate view of the situation,” Michie says. “This leads to improvements in happiness, emotional resilience, lowering of blood – pressure, so the impact is physical as well as emotional.”

DISCOVERING MINDFULNESS

David Michie says there are a couple of simple techniques that provide easy access to the physical and emotional benefits of meditation. These benefits include:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Easing anxiety
  • Treating tension headaches
  • Improving pain tolerance
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Gaining mental clarity
  • Balancing emotional responses

There are a number of free guided meditation downloads available through Michie’s website which can be integrated into a workday.

This article originally appeared on Telstra IN:SIGHT.

Connect with Telstra IN:SIGHT to explore the latest business thinking, management tips, technology trends and Telstra events.

 

How to: Make sure you go home on time

Business and Enterprise

Posted on October 5, 2015

3 min read

We may think we only overstay our welcome at our desks for the odd half an hour here or log on to email an hour or so early there, but all of this time can really add up and mean our work life balance, if we’re not careful, can take a real hit.

We’re proud of our flexible working culture here at Telstra, but recently it was playing on my mind, as we recently observed Working Families National Work Life Week Conference 2015, and more specifically on the 23rd of September National Go Home on Time Day.

Every company and corporation has a responsibility to ensure its employees get the most from their job, both in and out of the office.  Of course, technology makes solving this problem much simpler and at Telstra, we have made it a priority to empower our employees to work in the way which best suits them.

Here are my top tips for how to help make sure a work life balance is achieved and not at the compromise of your business’ bottom line:

Be flexible

Flexibility shows you care – employees are more willing to go the extra mile if you show you value their life outside of the office. Nowadays, there are few businesses that need to have their staff operate from 9-5. Allowing changeable start and finish times, where business activity allows, will mean staff can work to their own schedules and become more productive.

Let’s get virtual

If an employee has to work late hours to meet a deadline or has an early morning conference call to attend, remote working to get tasks done could make this much more manageable. I know I make the most of this when I go away, missing the holiday traffic by travelling a day early and working from my weekend destination rather than the office.

Listen and learn

The lines of personal and professional are blurring with the increased use of technology and mobile devices. Look to your employees to find out which communication and productivity tools and apps will help them get their jobs done faster and generate better business outcomes. Explore the use of personalised IT environments to reap the benefits rather than blanket restrictions on their use.

Get your head into the clouds

Collaborative, flexible working is enabled by access to information when and how you want it, in a seamless and integrated environment. If you’re not talking about the cloud – it’s time to have the conversation.

Lead by example

Only with the commitment of everyone on the team will a true cultural change occur. This starts with the leadership team trusting and encouraging employees as well as providing the right tools and technology to succeed.

We’re all responsible for making the future way of work today’s reality and we can all do more to ensure we’re logging off on time – regardless of our location!

Employee empowerment 101

Business and Enterprise

Posted on September 15, 2015

4 min read

In the old days, offices were organised hierarchically. Management typically occupied the top floor. The lower your floor number, the further down the organisational chart you were.

However, a new way of organising workplaces is emerging. Activity-based working brings teams together in flexible workspaces that accommodate collaboration but also offer workspaces where people can work individually.

“It’s changing the traditional office,” explains Telstra senior business consultant Stuart Kirkby. “It’s about ensuring that people have engaging workspaces for performing specific tasks.”

Making the transition to activity-based working isn’t just about creating a funky new office. It’s a journey that everyone embarks on and moves through together.

So, how can you make that journey?

Understand why you’re making the journey

Activity-based working is just one component of employee empowerment. “It’s an enabler,” explains Kirkby. “It’s not a driver – strategically you need to be careful not to blend enablement with empowerment.”

In Kirkby’s experience, simply setting aside space in the office and buying some cool new furniture won’t empower your teams. It will, however, allow teams who are empowered to work more effectively.

Ownership

Telstra’s director of unified communications and collaboration practice, Gwilym Funnell, believes people are empowered when they have a say in the outcome of the task on which they are working.

“The most important part of empowerment is ownership of developing the outcome you’re trying to achieve rather than just delivering the outcome,” Funnell says.

This can be challenging as the strategy may have been developed and dictated by higher levels of management. “It’s really making sure that anybody who’s working on something feels that they do actually own the decision of how to do it,” Funnell adds. “That’s one of the key starting points.”

Flexibility

Activity-based working requires a flexible view of how and when people work. For companies working across multiple time zones using skills from many disciplines at different times, it doesn’t make sense to embark on an activity-based workplace and expect everyone to work a conventional nine-to-five day.

Team members need to be able to move in and out of the activity-based workspace as needed. That means managers should be goal-oriented rather than attendance-focused.

Incremental changes

More than 2500 years ago, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. In other words, long processes need to be executed in user-friendly chunks.

“You can make a gentle shift to being goals or outcomes-based,” Kirkby explains. “You don’t have to suddenly let go and make the change in 12 months.”

To empower people, managers need to create a working environment in which trust, respect and freedom are key values. People need to be taken on the journey so they can assimilate the internal changes they need to make in order to accommodate the workplace changes.

Celebrate the wins

The more people see the behaviour of empowered teams, the more infectious it becomes,” Funnell says. As people see the benefits and success, their understanding of activity-based working increases.

People learn not just from lessons and being told what they need to do, but from observing,” says Funnell. “Raise the visibility of the cultural change and look at the teams that are doing it well and those that are less successful. Then work out how to help those that are not doing as well.”

Creating a single strategy for people, workspace and technology transformation:

  • Activity based working is a potential component of a Future Ways of Working (FWoW) strategy, but every business is different
  • FWoW aligns culture, work practices and the tools people need with the strategic goals of the business
  • A FWoW strategy helps organisations to improve core performance whilst responding to the changing needs and expectations of their workforce – increasingly staff expect to be empowered, and allowed to work flexibly.

 

This article originally appeared on Telstra IN:SIGHT.

Connect with Telstra IN:SIGHT to explore the latest business thinking, management tips, technology trends and Telstra events.