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Charter Hall Modern Workplace

Charter Hall transforms workplace, nurtures flexible culture

Microsoft Surface and cloud establish premium platform, building employee engagement and enhancing client service

SYDNEY – April 8, 2019 – Leading Australian property investment and funds management group, Charter Hall has been on a successful organizational change program, transforming its workplaces and fostering a more flexible, innovative and collaborative culture. The deployment of more than 520 Microsoft Surface devices and rolling out Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 has assisted the Group to facilitate more cross-function interaction and collaboration, accountability, and has built a sense of community.

The ASX-listed investment and funds management property group, which has a portfolio of 820 properties worth more than $28 billion under management, commenced its New Way of Working (NWOW) program when it moved from its former Head Office at 333 George Street in Sydney to 1 Martin Place, nearly five years ago.

Natalie Devlin, Chief Experience Officer said the company had been working on a workplace cultural shift for some time. “We had fixed PCs, we had landlines and phones, we were paper dependent. Everything was locking us down. And we had no ability to connect our people or the work they were doing other than face to face, over the phone or in a long email or a document.”

All this changed at 1 Martin Place with activity-based working, flexible work arrangements and technology, central features of the way the company would support its people and its customers going forward.

Fast forward five years and the Group is benefitting from the NWOW, which has moved beyond the initial vision with a strong focus on creating the conditions through technology and operating systems to increase efficiency, responsiveness and opportunity.

Cue the introduction of the Microsoft Surface and cloud which are delivering the Group’s people solutions that make working more flexibly easier, improving responsiveness and accuracy to customers and increasing collaboration between local and interstate colleagues using a single streamlined but richly featured platform.

Adopting Microsoft Surface and the cloud through Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 has completely transformed the way Charter Hall people work, while clients’ perceptions about the firm have shifted, as they respond to its more agile, innovative approach.

The deployment of Surface devices and leading-edge cloud solutions also reinforce Charter Hall’s premium brand and is helping the firm to attract and retain talent from across a number of industries.

The Group’s people can choose between a Surface Laptop and a Surface Pro LTE depending on their preferences and work requirements.

The cultural change at Charter Hall has been significant, with technology playing a role in the workplace transformation which has seen employee engagement increase by 30 per cent and a significant reduction in employee turnover.

“Now I feel like people come to contribute ideas, not just in the physical world, but a lot of conversation happens outside the ‘traditional’ workplace, which is supported both by our technology platform and the culture we have created internally.

“For me our way of working is about how we create the environment and conditions for everyone to flourish in all aspects of their life and how we facilitate that. The Microsoft technology platform along with our other initiatives and people focused policies has aided this,” Devlin added

Charter Hall has initially deployed the case management capabilities of Dynamics 365 with marketing slated next.

Fresh approach

There have already been major efficiency gains as a result of the technology overhaul. Budgeting meetings were formerly heavily spreadsheet dependent and could easily take a day to accommodate all the changes and discussions. Budget meetings now take an hour.

Clayton Gee, head of IT platforms and service delivery, added that communications had been enhanced significantly because Charter Hall’s meeting spaces are now Skype enabled, and the firm is also using Microsoft Teams as a rich, integrated communications and collaboration platform. This streamlines communication across the firm nationwide – and has helped accelerate the pace at which new businesses or properties have been able to integrate with Charter Hall.

The Surface Pro LTE in particular has supported rapid integration, particularly in regional areas where connecting technology services can take some time. Thanks to the security integral to Microsoft 365, Charter Hall personnel have been able to insert 4G SIMS and connect securely to colleagues over mobile communication networks anytime, anywhere.

In addition, five Surface Hubs have been deployed across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth with Surface Hub 2’s planned. These have been enthusiastically embraced to support inter-office group meetings, and to also create richer cohesion among the firm’s offices during social events.

With strong digital foundations now in place Devlin said that Charter Hall is poised for ongoing transformation, making greater use of the firm’s data to manage the business, support first line employees, and also provide important insights for customers.

Charter Hall already has an agile showcase workspace in Sydney’s Martin Place. It is also working with Steelcase to develop a Customer Experience workplace.

Devlin explained that the firm was looking to collect data about how space was being used by clients, and then analyse that to help make informed decisions to deliver an enhanced customer experience.