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Telstra CEO calls for end of ‘outdated’ 9 to 5 work

·3-min read
People cross a busy street in the Sydney CBD and the Telstra logo in a store.
The Telstra CEO has said adopting a hybrid working model could give the Aussie economy a significant boost (Source: Getty)

The Aussie economy could be $18 billion better off and create another 42,000 full time jobs over the next decade if businesses allow employees to work from home.

A new report commissioned by Telstra found businesses that have adopted hybrid working, turbo-charged by COVID-19, overall have higher income, productivity, and levels of innovation.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the findings about the potential benefits of hybrid working came at an exciting time when organisations around the globe were debating the future of work.

“This report busts the myth that we need to ‘get back to the office’ to be productive and proves hybrid working can boost the economy, boost businesses, large and small, as well as boost engagement and wellbeing for employees,” Penn said.

“As we continue to battle the pandemic and seek to understand what a ‘COVID-normal’ Australia will look like, hybrid working can and should play an important part of this discussion.”

Penn said the future of work looks brighter under a hybrid working model and it’s time to ditch the traditional 9 to 5.

“Many of us have been working-from-home during lockdown which hasn’t been without its challenges, but the future looks brighter when we have greater choice and flexibility over how and where we work,” he said.

"In a hybrid working world, the role of the office isn't dead, it'll be different. Offices will become places where people will come together for training, collaboration, and connection rather than the outdated model of 9 to 5 deskwork.”

Telstra was ahead of the curve having already adopted a hybrid model before the pandemic struck the nation and Penn said there are a number of benefits for all businesses to continue with the model.

The research found that businesses with hybrid working have 6 per cent higher income, are 22 per cent more likely to see higher productivity and are 28 per cent more likely to be innovative than those without hybrid working policies.

They also have improved customer service and more engaged employees.

“This research proves hybrid working is enabling people to be more productive no matter how, when and where they work and means businesses have higher incomes and higher levels of innovation,” Penn said.

The report also found hybrid working could provide a critical boost to Australia’s economy by increasing labour force participation and productivity in an environment where population growth slows.

“Hybrid working is not just a boost for business but also Australia’s economy more broadly, which could grow by more than $18 billion with 42,000 extra full-time jobs created over the next decade,” Penn said.

Color image of a busy Bridge Street near Circular Quay in Sydney.
Penn said ditching the traditional 9 to 5 working model will actually boost company profits (Source: Getty)

Penn said that while adopting the hybrid model has not been without its challenges, so long as bosses around the country take the appropriate steps the working environment in Australia will be better.

“We need to be bold and not squander the opportunity to think differently, to not just recover but recover stronger by building more resilient, more digital and more future-ready organisations,” he said.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, out of one of the most disruptive events of the last century, to choose whether we look back to what we knew or look ahead to what’s possible with a hybrid work future fit for purpose in the digital age. It is a moment we must not waste.”

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