Scott Dutchak, VP, Corporate Real Estate & Sustainability
Dan Barham, Senior Program Manager, Work Styles
When the global health pandemic hit, TELUS immediately focused on ensuring that our team members were kept safe. In doing so, we quickly made the decision to mandate a work from home policy across the company, and we were fortunate in that through our renowned Work Styles program, approximately 21,000 team members were already familiar with remote work. For the rest of the organisation, we leveraged our decade of experience offering work flexibility to transition the rest of our team to remote operations in a matter of weeks. To support team members whose essential service roles require physical access to our network, or for whom work from home was not an option, we developed a return to office playbook with guidelines that ensured their safety while at work. As part of our commitment to our communities, this playbook is available for organisations to leverage as they plan their return to work strategy. To access our return to office playbook or learn more about our Work Styles program, reach out to [email protected].
While some literature has declared the traditional workplace as “dead,” we know that this prediction is premature.
Over a decade ago, we set out to reimagine the world of work. At a time when many viewed work as simply a place to go, we saw things a little differently. We envisioned a new way of working, built for people by people, which unleashed the power of communication, technology and leadership to breathe new life into our company culture — We had already started thinking about what the future of mobile work would look like beyond 2020. In doing so, we have asked ourselves:
How can we build a strong culture while having much of our team working remotely?
How will we foster the next generation of leadership?
How can we help build community?
While some literature has declared the traditional workplace as “dead,” we know that this prediction is premature. Our Work Styles program is as much about what we do as it is how we do things. The freedom to choose when and where work happens enables our team to prioritize their well-being by integrating work and life in a way that makes most sense for them. This includes offering spaces for people to come together to collaborate and ideate. However, in an increasingly virtual culture, companies will need to be more deliberate about fostering the relationships between employees and the organisation. Consider the reasons why you would have sent an employee on a business trip to attend an important meeting instead of relying on a conference call or video conference before COVID. That same rationale around the benefits of face to face connections will continue to apply to employees who work in different regions and extend to those who work remotely in the same city in a post COVID future, just without the hurdle of a costly plane ticket standing in the way.
We believe that equal focus on culture, technology and space are critical to a successful workplace in the future.
At TELUS we’re thinking about our post-COVID-19 future and using the lessons we’ve learned over the past decade to support the needs of our mobile workforce. We believe that equal focus on culture, technology and space are critical to a successful workplace in the future.
Tips and meaningful questions for considering your future workplace strategy:
Can your employees be productive whenever or wherever they prefer to work?
Do you have the technology, leadership support, policies and work processes to support your employees in a mobile work environment?
What is the difference to your employees between working mobile or coming into the office? Are you giving them a compelling reason or experience to come into an office environment?
Do you have enough opportunities for employees to connect with each other virtually and face to face?
What would your employees do with an extra hour or two if they didn’t need to commute to the office?
This past year has seen a broad market shift to work from home and more employees are seeing the tremendous benefits of it. This will remain the case into the future. When we defeat this pandemic, organizations should consider how they can reimagine their future office space. While maintaining employee safety, organizations should have a thoughtful strategy about bridging digital and physical work and ensuring that both work together. Think about space redesign to support your new work processes such as collaboration space vs individual office spaces.
At TELUS, we are excited about what the future will bring, and look forward to welcoming our team members, customers and communities back into our spaces.