Ankita in an online team meeting
Inspiration | Telstra Careers |

An insight into working in Telstra’s virtual team environment

By Ankita Suryavanshi June 15, 2020

As someone who has recently joined a new team at Telstra, taking the leap from working in the office to being part of a virtual team has required some adaptation.

There are, of course, certain challenges that come with working remotely, but I have found that there are numerous benefits as well. Most importantly, Telstra has such a fantastic culture, with a strong emphasis on teamwork, supporting each other and continuous learning. This has resulted in a feeling of connection and the ability to stay productive regardless of where I’m located.

What my days look like 

When we started working remotely, I was pretty much freestyling it and getting up just before office hours. But soon I realised that this routine was making me miserable, so I decided to create a timetable.

Though the basic structure stays the same – wake early, do a home workout, work, play with my dog, spend time with my family and watch TV – I do different things every day to avoid getting bored.

For example, my workouts vary between an online class, yoga or a walk, and my exact working and lunch hours depend on what meetings I have throughout the day. I also make sure that I stretch my legs at some point or sit outside for ten minutes in the sun.

The benefits of working remotely 

The biggest benefit for me has been the change in my work-life balance. I don’t spend any time commuting to work, which means I have more time to spend with my family. Before, the only time my entire family would get together and talk our day was during dinner. Now, we use that time to learn new recipes and cook them together and have a lot more family movie nights.

In terms of the workload, I feel like my stress levels have lessened. I used to always be worried about finishing everything on time because I had to leave to get home or to other commitments. Now, I can just work a little later if I want to get something done, and then take the night off.

I’m also enjoying the lack of commuting. Travelling takes a lot out of you, especially if you live far from the office, like me where it takes an hour door to door. It doesn’t sound too bad but it’s quite exhausting during peak hour! 

And the challenges

The biggest struggle has been not being able to see my colleagues and friends from work. I didn’t think it would be a big deal since we have great collaboration tools, but I didn’t consider how much I had gotten used to having people around me.

I miss the snack runs with my friends in the Telstra Graduate Program, the coffee catch-ups with my leader, and even just walking up to someone and asking for help. But again, as with everything else, I’ve adjusted, and it’s gotten easier.

Another challenge is keeping my home life and work life separate. Because my computer is nearby all the time when I am at home, it can be easy to ‘just check this one email and then close my laptop’ – but once you open that laptop, it can take a long time to close. So, you really need to make sure that you resist the temptation. My suggestion would be that once you decide that you’ve finished work for the day, do an activity that distracts you, such as cooking or watching a movie.

A great team keeps you connected and engaged 

I’ve been surrounded by the best co-workers throughout my time here. My new team is no exception. They’re very close-knit and when I joined, they instantly made me feel like a valued team member. Everyone is always encouraging and willing to help, which for me is a big motivator. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my leader and other team members to learn about the team’s goals and the fact they’re available to share their thoughts with me has kept me connected and engaged since I started.

We always make sure that our cameras are on when we have team calls so that we can see each other. And once a week we have a ‘walking meeting’, where everyone goes for a walk and dials into the meeting via their mobile phone. We started this to make sure that we’re not always sitting at our desks and are getting a bit of a break.

You learn so much as a graduate at Telstra and it’s such an enjoyable place to work. Moving into a remote working situation, for the time being, has been made a lot easier by the supportive, friendly and engaged culture of the company, which has continued despite the shift into a virtual work environment. I feel very lucky to be a part of the Telstra team.

If you’re interested in beginning your career at a company that’s committed to supporting the development of their people, check out our jobs.

Sakshi Banerjee shares her top leadership tips
Advice | Telstra Careers |

Four leadership tips I’d give my 20-year-old self

By Sakshi Banerjee March 12, 2020

In 2010, I was a bright-eyed intern with big dreams for the future. Now, a decade later, I’m the Group Performance Principal for the Global IoT Solutions product portfolio at Telstra.

It feels like my journey as a leader has barely begun – but I’ve already learned so much since I was that hopeful summer vacationer. If I could deliver those learnings to myself a decade ago, they might look something like this:

1. Becoming a leader starts with intent

It may sound obvious but to succeed at anything, you have to start by saying, “I’m going to do it.”

Something I’ve noted throughout my career journey is that some women tend to hesitate to take on new opportunities when we don’t quite meet 100 per cent of the criteria. The reality is most of us never will! It’s all about taking a chance anyway and just doing it (Nike has a point!).

You may underestimate your resourcefulness, instincts and experience, but you will figure it out. For those starting out, put your hand up for a project or initiative that falls outside of your comfort zone – it’s a great way to test yourself.

2. Lead by example

This is a piece of advice my most recent boss gave me – and it truly struck a chord. Think hard about the values, behaviors and style you want to represent, as they will be reflected in how your team behaves and interacts.

How you react to good news, bad news, wins and failures, how you celebrate shared achievements with your own team and even how you choose to address or not address gossip: it’s the sum of all these reactions that leaves an impression on your team members.

3. Be yourself

I used to believe that leadership was a cookie-cutter mold I needed to fit into. But over the years, I have seen lots of inspiring leaders own their uniqueness. It wasn’t conforming that made them great leaders – it was their quirks that made them authentic.

The suits, managerial buzzwords and demeanor I thought were so important as a graduate truly fell away once I continued with my career. After all, anyone can wear a blazer, but it takes something special to be a sincere, effective leader.

Sakshi says authenticity is important for all leaders

4. Never stop learning

I prefer not to spruik books or frameworks as I believe people need to formulate their own thinking, but I do recommend The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. As a leader, you’ll need to have uncomfortable and difficult conversations. Ben’s book talks about how to tackle some of these hard conversations, and his writing style is very easy to read.

Reading and self-education in general are especially important for leaders. But don’t worry too much about following frameworks or only reading books that relate to your field. Rather, read about a variety of topics and you’ll find yourself expanding your general knowledge and critical thinking – which is invaluable for all aspects of life.

Want to learn about my role and hear about Telstra’s IoT journey? Watch the video below.

Ready to expand your professional horizons? Check out open roles at Telstra.

A woman takes a call while travelling on a bus
Inspiration | Tech and Innovation | Telstra Careers |

What does the future hold for voice-based communication?

By Paul Kubik August 22, 2019

As the Voice and Video Group Owner and Executive at Telstra, our team is responsible for the millions of voice and video calls that go through Telstra’s products, platforms and networks every day, whether it’s for consumers, enterprises or contact centres. Put simply, our job is to keep Australians connected.

But the nature of these connections has changed over time. We have reached ‘peak telephony’ in the developed world – people are using less traditional voice and SMS and more data-driven messaging applications, a trend that began in 2015.

At Telstra, we find ourselves at the forefront of these communication changes. In order to create a technology strategy that will allow our customers to do business and keep in touch with loved ones, we must be able to accurately predict their future needs.

What does this future look like? Let’s take a look at a few key insights that currently colour Telstra’s voice-based thinking.

Voice-based consumer trends

The switch to mobile is the overarching trend in communications tech that ties almost all others together. Consumers will soon be almost wholly mobile or smart device-based. Small to medium-sized businesses will still see the fixed line as ‘the face of the business’, but most calling will be on mobiles. Large or enterprise businesses meanwhile will shift to unified communications – for every fixed number there will be an associated mobile, and URL calling will become more popular.

These shifts will be enabled by the following technologies:

  • The transformation of all voice and messaging to IP: Eventually all services and network traffic and carriers will be migrated to IP (NBN, VoLTE, IP Interconnect). This enables the provision of enterprise-grade features for business and consumers with fixed and mobile convergence, and a ‘one number, one voice’ experience.
  • Integration to any IP-based endpoint: The number of internet-connected devices is exploding and there are now more IP-based calling devices than mobiles SIM-based devices in the home. Hypothetically each of these could function as an additional communication device in the home or on the road. Smart cars, smartwatches and smart speakers are the first examples of devices with calling and messaging capabilities, but you can expect the likes of smart TVs and others to follow.
  • Scam calling: The communications industry is offering many solutions to the issue of scam calling. SHAKEN/STIR is a certificate-based authentication for IP voice calls equivalent to the HTTPS certificate system on the internet. Combined with real-time call analytics and call blocking capabilities (as well as law enforcement activities), the industry is confident that impact of this scourge can be diminished and eliminated over time.
  • Rich Communication Services (RCS): SMS is still incredibly valuable, as it remains the only ubiquitous messaging service. RCS utilises its unique proposition by providing instant messaging features to SMS (presence, groups, interactions and file transfers). It is native on Samsung and has the potential to integrate to Apple iMessage for seamless operation across all device platforms.
  • Virtual agents (AI): Artificial intelligence (AI) will be better utilised by contact centres, with interactive voice response (IVR) set to improve call deflection. Other promising contact centre technologies include voice biometrics for identification, agent co-browsing, interactive visual responses, click to connect with agents, and automated quality management that can generate reports on customer interactions.

At Telstra, we are perfectly placed to meet the upcoming challenges that will be posed by this transitional period in voice-based communication. We are confident that we’ll continue to provide a higher quality, more reliable and more functional service that offers the customer a far better overall experience.

Keeping Australians connected. It’s what we’ve always done, and it’s what we’ll continue to do.

Are you fascinated by all things communication? Great news – we’re looking for talented people to join our team. You can search and apply for jobs on the Telstra Careers website.

Students | Telstra Careers |

Why I applied for the Telstra Graduate Program

By Nathan Haveaux March 4, 2019

I applied for the Telstra Graduate Program because I wanted to be part of an organisation that would allow me to create and build innovative products and services, and I felt like Telstra would help me do this.

I had also worked in a Telstra retail store for many years, so I know how great the company is, and how well it supports its people.

Since starting in the Program last year, I have loved every experience. I haven’t felt like ‘just a grad’. Everyone has been welcoming, approachable and willing to give their time to teach and help me out.

What’s been really beneficial to my career is that I’ve been able to reach out to numerous leaders within the organisation and say “hey, I like the sound of your role, can you tell me about it over a coffee to see if it’s something I want to do?” There’s a lot of career opportunities available here.

What I’ve learnt so far

In my first rotation I worked with our Enterprise Sales and Service team and learnt what it takes to make a sale and deliver the best service possible to some of our largest customers.

I also played a part in developing a national strategy to drive sales, and worked with a wide variety of customers from different industries (both at Telstra offices and theirs) and got to see firsthand how they operate their business.

In my second rotation, I’ve had the benefit of working with our Internet of Things (IoT) M2M Connectivity team. I’ve been able to learn what we need to do to take something from ideation to a fully-fledged Telstra product that we can replicate and sell to our customers.

Across both of my rotations, I’ve been able to work with different areas of the business, grow my network and engage with people all over the world.

I think one of the best aspects of the Telstra Graduate Program is that I haven’t had that feeling of “why am I doing this?” But I have had the feeling of “why am I doing this?”

Another one of the great aspects of the Program is that I been given the freedom to explore where I want to go for my next rotation and have gained the skills and experiences I need to help shape my future career.

Advice I would give to graduates

Make sure you apply for the Program. Most people don’t realise just how big the organisation is and how it touches so many things in everybody’s daily lives.

There are so many great projects that people are working on here at Telstra, which will transform the way we live and work today and in the future.

I’d say that if you want to help shape the future, if you want to be a disrupter, if you want to get out there and do something real as part of your Graduate Program, then don’t look elsewhere, make sure you apply at Telstra.

So what’s next?

My final rotation will be in the IoT Devices and Technology team where I hope to learn about the different technology and devices Telstra offers and how we launch and support them.

My end goal is to take the knowledge and experiences I have gained from my three rotations, and help to create and launch new products.

Learn about Telstra’s Graduate and Internship Programs. 

5G | People | Telstra Careers |

4 technology projects our teams are working on this year

By Jarrod Cardy February 4, 2019

From launching 5G to creating new Internet of Things (IoT) experiences for our millions of customers, we continue to be at the forefront of technological advancements that are changing our industry.

This means 2019 is going to be another big year for all of our technology teams as they’ll be at the centre of this exciting journey.

So what are the biggest projects our teams will be working on this year? Here are the top four:

2019 is the year of 5G

5G will take us from a world of connecting people to each other and the internet to a world of ultra-fast mobile speeds and IoT on a mass scale.

Our people have already made some pretty huge advancements in this space, including turning on 5G in all major Australian cities, and opening our 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast.

But this is only just the beginning of what we are hoping to achieve together. See how our teams are helping to turn 5G into a reality.

Creating new IoT experiences

Our talented tech teams are creating the future of IoT and this means in 2019 we’re going to continue to deliver new experiences to Australian families and businesses, so they can be better connected, protected and empowered.

Since launching our IoT network, our people have created the Telstra Locator and helped to transform the agriculture industry.

With over 50 million connected devices expected on our network over the next five years, this is just the start of new innovations that our people will deliver.

See how our people are bringing new IoT experiences to life and the skills we’re looking to hire in.

Using AI and Machine Learning

Customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we believe it’s important they can speak with us in a way that’s easiest and convenient for them.

That is why our teams will continue to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in innovative new ways, to help create amazing digital experiences.  Get a look into the work our people are doing.

Cyber security remains top of mind

With one of the largest cyber security teams in Australia, our hundreds of information security specialists will continue to play a big role in helping to keep Australia secure in 2019.

As an organisation, we’re committed to addressing cyber security threats, and continue to invest heavily to make sure our customers are supported.

We’ll continue to do this in a number of new ways including how we keep our code secure and help our people to keep up to date with latest cyber security trends.

Want to know what else we have planned for 2019?
Hear from our tech leaders.