Tech and Innovation |

Navigating our brave new virtual world

By Michael Ebeid AM July 7, 2020

Many sectors, from professional services to education and even the arts, have discovered a brave new virtual world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether working or learning from home for the first time, seeing your doctor, accountant, fitness instructor or vet on a video conference or attending a virtual performance. As restrictions begin to ease, how will people work, learn and live in this new world?

Since March 2020 organisations across Australia have realised that not only can their employees work from home but that productivity need not suffer as a result. In fact, many are finding the opposite is true.

The upsides of a flexible work policy are well-documented, particularly for an increase in employee attraction, retention and diversity but also to reduce congestion, strain on public transport infrastructure and pollution in the environment.

Virtual services, here to stay

Dad and child working from home on laptop

The video conferencing technology boom has heralded a new era for the services sector, where we saw a rate of digitisation in just a few weeks that we were expecting over the next five years.

Banks have transitioned to remote sales and service teams and launched digital outreach to customers to make flexible payment arrangements for loans and mortgages.

While telemedicine got a massive boost during the pandemic, we also saw the advent of virtual vet consultations and even virtual babysitters, to help Mum and Dad out when they needed an hour of peace and quiet to get some work done while school was out.

It’s not only professional workers who worked from home. Contact centre workers were set up with ‘agent at home’ solutions – spun up almost overnight – opening up employment opportunities all over Australia like never before. The implications of ‘work from anywhere’ are especially significant for urban planning and makes the dream of sea- and tree-changers much closer to a reality.

And while people are working from home, unable to pop to the bank at lunch, or worried about sitting in a GP’s waiting room, they’ve also wanted the convenience of accessing services from home.

This sizable shift in customer behaviour shows many prefer digital interactions when accessing services. KPMG’s recent research found that 75 percent of people using digital channels for the first time indicate that they will continue to use them when things return to “normal.”

When we emerge post-COVID, the services industry will not instantly revert to pre-pandemic operations. For many, they will continue to operate dual operations – physical and virtual – and for others, physical services may never return to pre-pandemic levels.

Remote education for all ages

According to the World Economic Forum, 1.5 billion students across the world were unable to physically attend school as a result of the pandemic. Fortunately for most, it was not the end of learning, only the beginning of remote learning, thanks again to technology.

While home-schooling certainly wasn’t for everyone and has led to a renewed appreciation of teachers, the ability to continue learning despite the challenges, was critical.

Telstra worked with Education Departments all over Australia to rapidly upgrade their networks to establish remote learning hubs. In South Australia we helped create virtual classrooms via WebEx for all public schools, allowing teachers to create their own individual online learning space to deliver live video lessons and learning content for their classes.

In the Higher Education sector, where the sudden departure of International students wreaked havoc, we connected many Chinese and Korean students to Australian universities. We developed an online solution for approximately 4,000 Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) students who were stuck overseas due to COVID-19 restrictions, allowing them to access educational resources and course content material.

These digital environments need not disappear post-pandemic. If education institutions can harness the digital tools they implemented during COVID-19, they will reap benefits not only of international education but the coming boom in micro-credentialing.

A new ING Future Focus Report shows that 3.3 million Australian adults are rethinking their career path because of the COVID-19 pandemic impact. It’s made many Aussies re-think their work choice with some questioning whether their existing skills will always be needed, while others have spent time dreaming about a change in career direction. To address this internally, we announced last week that we’re partnering with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to upskill a number of Telstra employees in the areas of data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning to meet the demands of a rapidly changing jobs market and digitising economy.

Being able to upskill in this rapidly changing world is an economic imperative and education has an important role to play.

Ensuring inclusivity

For those without access to the right digital tools, devices and connectivity, life in lockdown would have been very difficult – creating a wider digital divide than ever before.

The 2019 Australian Digital Inclusion Index found that the affordability gap for internet access between high and low-income households is at the same level it was in 2014. The nbn™ network is making connectivity easier but there’s a long way to go to close this gap.

When COVID-19 forced the move to remote learning, it really highlighted just how critical digital inclusion is. Working with state, territory, independent and catholic education departments we provided 30,000 free sim cards to disadvantaged students – not so they could watch Netflix or access social media – but so they could attend school and learn with their peers.

The digital economy will be a boon for many industries but we must ensure no one is left behind.

Many businesses thought they could never work remotely, but have quickly discovered that with the right technology, anything is possible. We are witnessing what will surely be remembered as a historic deployment of remote work and digitisation across almost every domain.

Telstra News |

Telstra and COVID-19: what you need to know

By Telstra News July 6, 2020

The evolving situation around COVID-19 (Coronavirus) means we want to keep you updated as quickly as possible on impacts to our business, and new policies for our people and customers.

That’s why we’ll be posting new updates relating to COVID-19 here when they’re available.

Last updated: Thursday, 16 July 2020

An update on our Mornington store

Thursday, 16 July 2020

One of our licensee stores in Mornington, Victoria has today been closed temporarily after a staff member tested positive to COVID-19.

Store staff are seeking testing and have been provided help under our Employment Assistance program.

The store is currently being deep-cleaned over the next 48 hours, and we look forward to welcoming customers back when it reopens.

In the meantime, you can find your nearest store and book an appointment with our Store Finder.

Supporting our customers in Melbourne under increased COVID-19 restrictions

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

With increased COVID-19 restrictions around the Melbourne metropolitan area and the Mitchell Shire, we want to help our affected customers stay connected – that’s why we’re offering our eligible consumer and small business customers in those areas additional mobile data, as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners. The offers will be available from Tuesday 14 July.

Providing assistance to Victorian residents in hard lockdown

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

We’re working with the Victorian Government on options to support residents of the nine buildings in lockdown in North Melbourne and Flemington.

We are providing unmetered data for fixed line customers until the end of August, 10GB of extra data for prepaid mobile customers and 25GB of extra data for post-paid customers in the buildings.

An update on our Victorian stores

Monday, 6 July 2020

Two of our licensee stores in Victoria – Altona Gate and Williamstown – have been closed temporarily after a staff member tested positive to COVID-19 at the Altona Gate store.

While there wasn’t workplace exposure in this instance, team members from both stores are self-isolating at home and will be tested for COVID-19 as a precaution.

Both stores are currently being deep-cleaned and we look forward to welcoming customers back when they reopen and staff will come back once they meet all necessary clearances.

In the meantime, you can find your nearest store and book an appointment with our Store Finder.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020: Our licensee store at Altona Gate has now re-opened.

An update on our Bourke Street Telstra Store

Monday, 6 July 2020

As a priority, we want to help ensure the safety of both our customers and our Telstra Store staff. We’ve taken a number of steps to stay COVID-safe.

This is why our Telstra Discovery store on Bourke Street was closed on Friday afternoon (3/7) and remained closed over the weekend, after a staff member unfortunately returned a positive COVID test result.

Over the weekend, two more staff members also returned positive tests. The three team members are quarantining and other staff who worked with them are now self-isolating.

Rest assured, we’re working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services to help in contact tracing customers who may have been in contact with the team members last week.

The store has received a deep clean over the weekend and will reopen today staffed by team members from other stores.

Again, the safety of our staff and customers is our number-one priority. As a result, we continue to take precautions we’d ask our customers to be mindful of.

Enhanced cleaning – including the provision of hand-sanitiser and regular wiping and sanitisation of devices – is already in place, along with plexiglass in customer service areas; effective floor management managing appropriate customer numbers in stores; social distancing, and gloves for our staff. All team members unable to work due to COVID will continued to be supported through our paid Pandemic Leave policy.

Our stores are here to help, and we encourage you to book an appointment ahead of time if you need in-person assistance.

Updated Thursday, 9 July 2020: One additional staff member at our Melbourne Discovery store has tested positive to COVID-19 and is self-isolating at home. More than 40 staff members tested have so far returned negative results. There is no change to our store operations – the Melbourne Discovery store remains open and trading.

We’re reopening selected stores

As COVID-19 restrictions ease in some states, most Telstra stores that were closed in March are set to re-open.

Read more about this story.

We’re helping bridge the gap with online learning

With the reality of social distancing setting in, schools across the country are doing a tremendous amount of work to provide online education resources for students and parents. We’re proud to be doing our part in helping to bridge the gap by providing 20,000 disadvantaged students and teachers across the country with internet access to educational content to support their online learning through the Department of Education and Catholic Education.

Read more about this story.

Making self-service easy with the new My Telstra app

To help you interact with us online more easily, we’re ramping up our digital capabilities as a priority – so you can get the help you need to get connected and stay connected. We’ve just launched our new My Telstra app which is designed to be a one-stop shop for all your Telstra needs. We have also created a number of self-service videos to help you with your basic service needs.

Read more about this story.

If you can #StayHome, you should 

Friday, 27 March 2020

As we continue to work-from-home and practice good social distancing, we want to encourage others to join us in flattening the curve of COVID-19. That’s why you’ll see us change our network name on your mobile phone during this uncertain time to – Telstra #StayHome. 

From today, when you look in the top corner of your Apple iOS device connected to the Telstra mobile network, you’ll see our new name: Telstra #StayHome. That’s because the best thing we can all do as individuals is stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.  

Staying home is the best thing anyone who isn’t providing an essential service can do. Data from the University of Sydney demonstrates that the spread of COVID-19 can be slowed if people cut the vast majority of in-person interactions. That’s why we’ll be helping to share that crucial message, by reminding you to #StayHome on your phone with our new network name. 

This new network name will appear on Apple iOS devices only for now and may require a network change (e.g. moving from 3G to 4G) or a change in location to trigger it.  

To help support consumers and small businesses as we navigate this difficult time, we’vintroduced a range of initiatives including extra data for mobile and fixed broadband customers, and billing relief for those who need it. 

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Supporting small businesses through COVID-19

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Many small businesses across Australia are feeling the impacts of COVID-19. Australian small businesses are agile, we’ve always admired that about them, and we’ll see many of them adapt. But it’s important that the rest of Australia also gets behind them to support them through this challenging time. We’re showing our support by helping them adjust in a number of ways.

Read more about this story.

Issues with some voice calls connecting due to congestion

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

As more people work from home and schools close, we are seeing demand on our network increase daily and this will continue.

Overall mobile call volumes on certain routes and geographies are up by more than 50 per cent. Specific numbers to Government call centres are experiencing three times the call volumes compared to last week, and over 20 times the normal call volume.

As a result, we’re seeing congestion impacting a small proportion (3-4 per cent) of call on our mobile network, with most of the congestion being driven by the high number of calls to Government 13 and 1800 numbers. There is no impact on data as yet.

Working with Optus, we are also trying to fast-track upgrades to our interconnection capabilities which is contributing to this congestion and we are continuing to push for a resolution urgently with them.

Yesterday we made significant improvements to capacity and call routing on our network, which has allowed us to manage the significantly higher call volumes.

Delays getting in touch with us, and the best ways to get help

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on our teams and partners in Australia and around the globe, we are prioritising our customer service activities toward maintaining critical services and keeping vulnerable customers connected. You will experience delays getting through to our customer service team and getting some issues fixed.

We understand how frustrating this is. We’re doing everything we can to find alternative solutions to improve things, but these are highly unusual circumstances, and this will take time.

Our call centres in Australia remain open, however with fewer people answering calls there are significant wait times. We are prioritising Medical Priority Assist, service faults and high-risk cases, so if your enquiry is not one of these, we ask that you please reconsider calling us at this time.

If your call is not urgent, please try one of the many self-service tools available on telstra.com.au, the Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra apps, or find answers in our Crowd Support community. We’ve created video guides to show how to use our apps to complete many common tasks like checking for an outage, troubleshooting issues with your service or managing your bills.

Placed an order with us recently?

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Whilst we may not be able to take your call right now, we are progressing your order and you can track it online. Have questions? Get help with how to track an order.

Telstra stores

The vast majority of our Telstra Stores are still open. You’re welcome to come in and talk with one of our team in person. Though, we ask that you only visit the store if you’re feeling well and do not meet any of the COVID-19 self-isolation criteria advised by the Australian Government.

nbn disconnections

With the support of nbn co and the ACCC, we have decided to temporarily pause the mandatory disconnections of customers from fixed networks under the nbn rollout.  This will ensure customers that have not yet moved to the nbn can remain connected at a time when staying in touch is more important than ever.

As new restrictions come into place in Australia and around the world it is likely there will be more changes to the way we work. We’ll continue to keep you up to date as we learn more and put alternative solutions in place where we can.

Thank you for your ongoing patience in what is a challenging time for us all.

Changes to some of our stores

Saturday, 21 March 2020

We have already taken a number of steps to help keep our customers connected through what is a challenging time for all of us. We’re adding to that by making some precautionary changes to how we run our Telstra Stores to ensure we can continue serving you through this period.

Read more on this story.

We’re putting job reductions on hold, bringing forward 5G investment and more to help the economy

Friday, 20 March 2020

In these extraordinary times, it is in the national interest for every company and individual to play a part in ensuring Australia comes through as strongly as possible. With that in mind, we are announcing a range of additional initiatives we can undertake now to help support the broader economy.

Read more about this story.

A message from Andy Penn, CEO

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Get immediate help and support from the Telstra apps

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our customer service team, we’re prioritising calls from customers in most urgent need of help including Medical Priority Assist and high risk enquires.

We want to keep you supported and connected as best we can during this time.

Our Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra apps can help you look after your account. You can manage payments, monitor your usage, check for outages, track orders or troubleshoot issues with your broadband or mobile.

To make a purchase, visit telstra.com.au.

We may not be able to take your call

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Due to increased containment measures announced by the Philippines Government, Telstra’s contact centre workforce has been reduced. This means there are longer wait times for customers contacting us via phone or online messaging.

There is no impact to Triple Zero (000) emergency calls.

Our call centres across Australia and India continue to operate and take enquiries. We are prioritising Medical Priority Assist enquiries, as well as high risk cases. If your enquiry is not urgent and does not fall into one of these categories, please either contact us at another time, or you can self-service on Telstra.com.au or the Telstra 24×7 or My Telstra apps. We are providing further information on our website to assist you to manage other enquiries.

Our Telstra stores remain open for business, so you’re welcome to come in and speak to one of our team members. We take the safety of our people and customers very seriously and have robust hygiene standards in place in stores. We ask that our customers only visit the store if they’re feeling well and do not meet any COVID-19 self-isolation criteria advised by the Australian government, such as having recently returned from overseas or been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

We are working to increase our contact centre capacity in a number of ways including ramping up our working from home capabilities, increasing overtime and extra shifts for our Australian-based staff, and diverting sales calls to our stores. We know how frustrating this can be and that is why we are working to improve the situation, hoping to get to as many of you as possible. Thanks for your patience as we work through this.

Supporting our customers during COVID-19

Monday, 16 March 2020

As people around Australia increasingly begin working and studying from home or self-isolating as part of the national response to COVID-19 demand for connectivity is rising rapidly. To play our part, Telstra is giving our consumer and small business customers additional data as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners. We want to help our customers, who find themselves having to work from home, stay connected.

Read more about this story.

How to improve your work-from-home experience

Sunday, 15 March 2020

As we move our office-based teams to a work-from-home model, we’re all thinking about how to be most productive in a new environment. We’ve been working flexibly at Telstra for a while, and have rounded up five great tips from our team that might make your experience easier.

Read more about this story.

Taking the right precautions for COVID-19

Friday, 13 March 2020

As governments and agencies around the world move to contain COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we’re also taking the right precautions to look after the wellbeing of our people.

With global events now unfolding very quicklywe’ve made the decision to move to full work from home arrangements for Australian-based office staff effective next week. These arrangements will remain in place until the end of March at a minimum.

Read more about this story.

Our steps to reduce transmission of COVID-19

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Our number one priority is the wellbeing of our people and customers. That’s why we’re taking sensible steps to ensure that the risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) exposure is limited. From today, we’ll look to limit exposure and transmission of the virus in our stores. We’re posting notices at our doors asking customers to reconsider the need to enter if they are a potential carrier of COVID-19.

We’ll be asking that those who have been, or suspect to have been exposed to someone with or suspected to have COVID-19 to refrain from entering, and if urgent, to call us on 13 22 00 or engage with our online team at telstra.com.au instead.

Similarly, we’re also asking that customers who have travelled to or transited through a Category 1 country – such as mainland China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mongolia and Korea – to also reconsider the need to enter and instead engage with our phone or online support teams.

We’ve also implemented new procedures for our Field Service Technicians to ensure they’re adequately protected.

Our Technicians will now call a customer or end-user on approach and ask a series of mandatory questions before attending the premises.

Technicians will ask if the customer is unwell and if they suspect they’ve been exposed to someone who has or suspects to have COVID-19. Technicians will also ask if the customer or end-user is currently in quarantine due to having had contact with someone suspected of or diagnosed with COVID-19.

If a customer answers yes to any of these questions, our technicians will try to fix the issue from outside and if they are unable to complete the job it will be rebooked for 14-days later (after the quarantine period is over). We will work with customers to provide interim devices or alternative solutions so people remain connected.

These new notices and procedures will reduce the risk of transmission to a member of our team or to another customer.

While these measures are precautionary, we want to ensure we’re doing everything possible to protect our people by following Australian Government guidelines on reducing transmission of COVID-19.

Supporting our people during COVID-19

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

We’re making sure we look out for our people throughout the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. This includes new measures to minimise the risk of transmission, and additional support to reduce the potential financial burden for our people who may become impacted. So today we’re introducing a policy that will give our permanent, fixed-term and casual team members access to additional paid leave should they need to take time off work.

Read more about this story.

Business and Enterprise |

An update for our Enterprise & Government customers in Australia on COVID-19

By Michael Ebeid AM March 16, 2020

A message from Telstra Enterprise Group Executive Michael Ebeid for Telstra’s Australian Enterprise and Government customers on how Telstra is preparing for COVID-19 and the steps we are taking to minimise wherever possible any impacts on them.

Updated 2 April, 2020:

I would like to update you on how we are supporting you to ensure your business is ready and able to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation.

COVID-19 is fundamentally changing the way we are all working and interacting. When it comes to minimising the impact on your organisation, the well-being of your people and maintaining their connectivity is paramount to your business continuity plans (BCP).

Over the last few weeks our team has helped a large number of customers move to full remote working, stand up virtual call centres and design full BCP strategies. We’ve documented some advice on innovative suggestions to help your business and I’d encourage you to have a conversation with your Telstra Account Executive if you need any assistance. We’ve also worked with our partners to develop a number of offers to support you through this transition. They include:

  • A special mobile broadband offer to help enable remote access and ensure your teams are at their most productive
  • A free, 6-month trial of Microsoft Teams – which brings together chat, meetings, calling, and Office 365, all-in-one – through Telstra Apps Marketplace
  • Free Virtual Meeting Rooms – which allows organisations to connect staff to each other, their team, partners, and customers, through video and audio conferencing

We are continuously reviewing how the global effects of COVID-19 may impact our operations and the services we provide to you. Like many businesses, COVID-19 is impacting the way some of our global people, partners and suppliers operate. While this is unfortunately outside our control, I would like to assure you, like you, we are focused on business continuity and security and remain committed to minimising any impacts. For example, we have in place arrangements for personnel of some of our impacted partners and suppliers to continue to work remotely and we’re accelerating use of our digital assurance tools.

As the COVID-19 situation has resulted in reduced capacity in our global service centres, we apologise if you experience longer wait times. During this period, Telstra Connect – our online self-service tool – will be the fastest and most reliable way to ensure your issues, requests or queries are addressed. We have been progressively rolling out Telstra Connect to our Telstra Enterprise customers and are now fast tracking the remainder, with all customers expected to be enabled by this Friday, 3 April.

We know you depend on Telstra’s networks and we are closely monitoring and optimising these networks to manage the current surges in demand. CEO Andy Penn also announced last week we will bring forward $500 million in capital expenditure from FY21 into calendar year 2020 to accelerate our network expansion and 5G build.

We remain focused on continuing to supply services to you to the best of our ability. If at any time you have any concerns, including about any of the steps we are taking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the services we provide to you, please contact your Account Executive.

Despite all the uncertainties and worries, one certainty is the enduring, innovative and collegiate spirit within our government agency and business community as we all work together to continue to provide our services to customers during this period of massive disruption.

I hope you and your families are keeping well.

Originally published March 16, 2020:

We have been actively monitoring and managing risks associated with the COVID-19 outbreak for our people, customers and our business. As we prepare and respond, our number one priority will always be the safety of our employees, and the employees of our suppliers and partners. We also want to ensure that the same health and safety policies apply to Telstra employees who operate at our customers’ premises.

Telstra has a well-established Business Resilience Program to provide effective response and recovery capabilities in the event of any disruption to our business operations. Our operations, workforce and call centres are located across a broad geography and in most cases, our employees can work remotely. Our delivery and network operations are located diversely across the globe and we have the capability to execute contingency and failover arrangements if needed.  

In response to COVID-19, we have introduced additional safeguards to reduce the risk of disruption to the services we provide you. To date these include:  

  • the activation of our Crisis Management Team, which is meeting daily to adjust our contingency arrangements as needed; 
  • moving to work from home arrangements for all office-based non-critical teams; 
  • requiring employees who have returned from countries with a high rate of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 to enter Telstra’s Health Isolation Protocol, which includes self-isolation at home for 14 days; 
  • introducing a new policy to provide additional paid leave to employees, including casuals, impacted by the virus; and  
  • suspending all non-critical international and domestic business travel.

In countries that have registered a high rate of human to human transmission, we have also: 

  • implemented flexible work arrangements where people in non-business-critical roles are working remotely to safely support our operations; 
  • introduced team load balancing as an additional contingency measure; and 
  • further protected our front-line teams in order delivery and network operations with mandatory temperature checks on-sites at the beginning and end of day and guest visits are suspended. 

Many companies are seeing a global impact to supply chains as a result of COVID-19. At this stage, there are only minimal impacts for Telstrawith no impact to our infrastructure build and maintenance programs. 

We know many of our customers are reviewing and implementing their own business resilience and continuity plans. We have been talking to our customers about how they may effectively manage potential situations where, like us, employees are required to work from home. This includes service availability, bandwidth usage, network management and service restoration requirements. We’re also advising customers on additional measures they may not previously have considered like security for remote working. 

Telstra’s Networks team is continuing to review infrastructure and consider a range of changing demand scenarios, as we work to optimise our network. We expect this unprecedented event and surge in network traffic to have an impact, however, we are confident our fixed services, particularly our Telstra Fibre services, have sufficient capacity to manage, although there may be times when the service is slower than usual. When working from home mobile device users should use their fixed broadband Wi-Fi connection where possible. 

If you would like more information or need assistance with business continuity planning our professional and managed services team from Telstra Purple will be able to advise on best practice options to consider, or you can refer to the below tips and Q&A for remote working. We are also working to prioritise and fast track customer requests for increased bandwidths across our networks. 

We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you notified of any material adjustments we make in the way we do business with you.  

                             

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Telstra helping customers with their BCP planning? 

We’re talking to our customers about service availability, bandwidth usage, network management and service restoration requirements. We’re also advising customers on additional measures they may not previously have considered like security. 

What is adaptive infrastructure? 

Adaptive infrastructure enables the workforce to move outside of the organisation’s physical location at scale and ensures that there is enough connectivity to core systems to support the increased demand for secure remote access. Strategies that underpin a reliable adaptive infrastructure focus on:  

  • enabling staff with appropriate connectivity, tools and training to effectively communicate with each other and customers reliably    
  • how quickly infrastructure can scale up and back down as needs change over time  
  • having resilient network and access systems with an awareness of any critical points that exist  
  • remote connectivity performance across concurrent and overall data usage  
  • seamless authentication and authorisation of a remote workforce   
  • device management practices that enable people to work across their devices    

What should businesses consider when preparing staff to WFH? 

A short checklist may include:  

  • Ensuring employees have a safe working environment and correct ergonomics (chair, desk)  
  • Basic tools like laptops, chargers and headsets  
  • Great collaboration software – MS Teams, Yammer  
  • Video conferencing – VMRs, Cisco Jabber, WebEx, Skype for Business  
  • Infrastructure – cloud. If your business operations, information and compute are stored in the cloud then it makes it much easier for employees to work from anywhere with an internet connection. 
  • Network – Your network must have the ability to support employees remotely. These days business must be able to provide users with the connectivity experience of the corporate network, no matter where they are (mobile or broadband access). IT teams should review how existing infrastructure could manage an increase of traffic from internet-based working to remote working. 

What about the security risks? 

Moving to remote working can bring up security challenges. 

Businesses shouldn’t rely on username and password alone. Your remote working solutions should use multi-factor authentication and be configured correctly using Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) to create a secure tunnel over a standard internet connection.  

Businesses should also ensure employees can operate across multiple devices outside the office. Mobile device management or endpoint security can be enhanced for example by disabling laptop USB ports or malware protection on tablets and phones. 

Employees often have accounts across a number of different service providers. As multiple accounts can make it difficult to contain breaches if an account is compromised, your cloud infrastructures and SaaS solutions need to be integrated into a central source of identity to disable accounts quickly if need be. 

Which network connection should employees use at home? 

When working from home employees should use their fixed broadband Wi-Fi connection where possible. 

If employees don’t have a fixed broadband connection, what’s the best mobile plan to use? 

Telstra recommends the Enterprise Mobile Broadband solution, on the Corporate Mobile Plus Local Plan.   

What are the best technology options for communicating with employees during an issue or crisis? 

The Whispir platform is a great BCP tool that allows you to quickly communicate with staff via a number of different channels.  The platform is easily accessed via a web interface and comes with pre-built message templates that you can customise. The platform also allows you to manage responses, for example allowing acknowledgement and updating their status.  

What if you haven’t done this before and need help?

If you would like more information or need assistance with business continuity planning our professional and managed services team from Telstra Purple will be able to advise on best practice options to consider.  

How are we dealing with new customer requests to increase bandwidth etc? Will we be able to fulfil these orders? 

We have put a team together to help prioritise and fast track customer requests and we expect an increased reliance on Telstra’s Fixed Data and Mobile networks and are planning for additional bandwidth demands. 

Can I upgrade my Telstra network quickly if required?  

Telstra Enterprise customers can make some service and network changes such as speed upgrades on selected IP and Internet products via the Your Telstra Tools or Telstra Connect Portal.  

What other network products could I easily spin up? 

Telstra Programmable Network also provides customers with opportunities to enjoy secure, flexible and on-demand connectivity to virtual network services around the globe and across Australia with automatic provisioning in minutes. Telstra Programmable Network gives you Network as a Service using a flexible one self-service, software-defined networking (SDN) platform.   

How quickly can Telstra increase capacity on NBN Fibre based services?  

We are in ongoing engagement with NBN Co as part of our day-to-day network capacity management for nbn related services. We regularly adjust our provisioning to adapt to changing customer demand and will continue to do so as the current situation develops.  

How will the network cope when we are all working from home? 

Telstra’s Network team is conducting a review of infrastructure to consider a range of scenarios and how we will manage the anticipated increase in demand. We expect this unprecedented event and surge in network traffic to have an impact however we are working to optimise our network and have a well-established business resilience program. We are confident our fixed broadband services, especially Telstra fibre services, have sufficient capacity or can be quickly optimised to manage a significant increase in network traffic, although depending on what eventuates there may be times when the service is slower than usual. When working from home mobile device users should use their fixed broadband Wi-Fi connection where possible. 

Will Telstra’s internet network have sufficient capacity to support the anticipated increase in demand?  

We have strong and resilient networks that are designed to manage surges in demand. We have been planning for a range of scenarios and we are confident our networks can be optimised to manage a significant increase in network traffic as a result of people being at home, although depending on what eventuates there may be times when the service is slower than usual.  

What options do I have to change incoming calls to my business? (I’m using a Telstra 13/1300/1800 Inbound Service) 

We can quickly change the destination answer point; or you can self-serve using ‘IN-Control’. 

What options do I have to change incoming calls to my business (direct to staff)? 

If you have a traditional phone system with ISDN or SIP trunks, we recommend that you do not advise all staff to forward their phones to mobile, as this will likely use up all available ISDN/SIP capacity and result in loss of calls. 

If you have a Telstra SIP service, Telstra has mobility packs that can be applied to allow for diversion of individual numbers from the cloud. 

If you have a Telstra SIP/TIPT and Telstra corporate mobiles, you can self-activate Liberate to receive calls directly from the cloud and make outbound mobile calls on your landline numbers. 

How do I ensure employees working from home can make outgoing business calls? 

Telstra customers can ensure that your staff can still call from recognisable business number, from their home landline, mobile, or laptop.  

What if I need to play a recorded message to say that the building is closed and to give the caller some alternative contact options? 

A cloud-based serviceis available to help with your needs. This is facilitated through a TIPT Auto Attendant (IVR). 

What if I have a call centre in a building that becomes physically isolated? 

We can help set up a temporary cloud-based call centre, where all calls can be diverted to reach agents at home (via landline, mobile or laptop). This is facilitated through a TIPT Call Centre that allows a replacement queue and agents to be quickly set up. 

What if I don’t have enough available agents to answer all calls in real-time (e.g. due to sickness)? 

The caller can leave a recorded message, and the audio file can then be sent to you via email (direct to a team distribution email).This feature is ‘voicemail to email’ via the TIPT platform. 

What options do I have for Virtual Meetings (audio or video conferencing)? 

Telstra’s Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) service is ideal for audio conferencing, with only one number to dial and no complicated PINs or account numbers to enter. It also comes with the Telstra VMR Companion app that you can download via the Play Store or App Store that lets you see who is in the call, mute noisy participants, secure the call to prevent uninvited callers from joining, and more. 

Telstra VMR is also video-capable, ideal for those using their laptops and who want to see other participants and shared content.Staff can join calls right on their Chrome browser, without installing additional software. 

Are there any solutions for remote contact centres? 

Yes, Telstra PureCloud Contact Centre is an effective Omnichannel contact solution for Business Continuity scenarios, as it is site-independent is pre-configured to your contact centre business requirements and is available on-demand. PureCloud uses the Telstra Next IP network and PSTN and Internet. All that your remote workforce needs is their PC, Internet connection to login into the intuitive web interface, a headset or a phone (fixed line or mobile).  

Advice | How To |

How to improve your work-from-home experience

By Luke Hopewell March 15, 2020

As we move our office-based teams to a work-from-home model, we’re all thinking about how to be most productive in a new environment. We’ve been working flexibly at Telstra for a while, and have rounded up five great tips from our team that might make your experience easier.

Improve your home Wi-Fi

Connectivity is everything when you’re working from home. Chances are, you don’t even know where your home Wi-Fi modem is at this point!

The best way to take your work-from-home experience from slow-to-whoa is to improve your Wi-Fi coverage.

Here are our tips on how to get the best home Wi-Fi experience right now.

We like to move it, move it

Working from home can be a stationary experience, which can lead to adverse health effects over a protracted period of time. That’s why it’s important to build movement into your day, focus on key stretches or just get moving around the living room!

Moving, stretching and staying active through fitness apps or even just follow-along aerobic classes on YouTube is super important.

Just as important is your diet: make sure you’re eating healthy and drinking plenty of water throughout your day.

Stay in touch

You may not realise it, but a big part of your day job is the social connection you get at the office. That’s why it’s important to make sure you stay in touch with colleagues virtually, or face-to-face if it’s safe to do so.

Leaders should also stay in touch with their teams regularly, and maintain the usual rhythms of 1:1s and team meetings.

After all, we’re inherently social creatures!

The right stuff

You may take for granted having a whole swathe of tech available at your desk, but when you’ve moved into a home environment, that gear might not be at your fingertips.

To maximise productivity, we recommend following a checklist to make sure your workspace is set up for ergonomic success. We recommend:

  • Laptop;
  • Laptop power cable
  • Laptop stand (if applicable)
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Headset
  • Headset charger

If you don’t have access to any of the following, we recommend speaking to your business about purchasing these for your home environment.

It’s also important to keep in mind your organisation’s cyber security standards while working from home, and maintain good cyber-hygiene on your connections. You can get more tips on good cyber security from our Exchange blog.

Don’t panic

This one is the most important! It’s key to recognise that social distancing and work-from-home mandates are designed as a precaution to help get ahead of things. It’s important we stay flexible so that we’re prepared should the issue escalate quickly.

Public health warnings and the outbreak of global pandemic like the coronavirus (COVID-19) can sometimes appear frightening. With continuous media coverage, unverified stories on social media and uncertain outcomes, it’s common to feel overwhelmed and worried about your, or your family’s health and wellbeing. While these feelings are understandable, if they start to interfere with your everyday life, you may be experiencing health anxiety.

During stressful times our level of resilience can help us cope when things are changing rapidly. Luckily building resilience is a process that we can develop over time by learning and using helpful techniques. Read this guide on how to build your resilience.

And don’t forget: wash your hands frequently!

Telstra News |

Taking the right precautions for COVID-19

By Alex Badenoch March 13, 2020

As governments and agencies around the world move to contain COVID-19, we’re also taking the right precautions to look after the wellbeing of our people.

With global events now unfolding very quicklywe’ve made the decision to move to full work from home arrangements for Australian-based office staff effective next week. These arrangements will remain in place until the end of March at a minimum.

We want to highlight that this is not due to a case of COVID-19 within our team. This unprecedented situation requires decisive action, and it’s important we are flexible and ready to adapt to this evolving situationGetting ahead of things now will mean we are prepared should the issue escalate quickly. We need to maintain our focus on serving our customers and the essential role we play in connecting Australians. 

To be clear, this step is not an action or represent a point of view from Telstra on the medical nature of the health risks. It is a practical response to decisions and guidelines from experts being made around us.

It is important to note there are some essential operations that cannot be fulfilled remotely, including store and field teams, call centres, and some other functions. We will continue to have additional procedures and safeguards in place for teams not able to work from home. 

Other changes implemented from today include cancellation of all events and meetings of more than 25 people, effective today, including the remainder of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards events. We will also be cancelling domestic air travel unless absolutely necessary. 

In the meantime, we encourage both our people and our customers to follow the guidance of the Federal Health Department on how to protect yourself and limit the spread.