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Stockland rolls out the digital red carpet for the new normal post COVID

Stockland Corporation is a company that is known for its high standards of customer service and communication and like most Australian enterprises, it is considering what the long-term effects of COVID-19 will be. The roll out of Teams has enabled Stockland to continually deliver high levels of service whilst ensuring the customer experience has not been compromised.

In just under three weeks Teams was rolled out across the organization to support the communication and collaboration needed by a newly remote workforce.

The company had previously undertaken digital transformation, embraced Office 365 and had planned to start using Teams later in 2020; COVID-19 pressed the pedal to the metal and since then, according to Ben Murphy, Stockland’s Workplace Application Delivery Manager; “Teams usage has gone through the roof.”

Teams has provided a central digital location for communication and collaboration, whilst enabling its employees to ‘Self-Serve’ through creating an enterprise-wide connection hub. During COVID-19, for those Stockland’s employees who were working from home this was critical in supporting both business continuity and crisis management.

Teams has definitely empowered us as an organisation to use it as a hub to bring together our different points of data, but also to bring together different elements of the business to work together, there are a lot of opportunities to make systems work seamlessly together and also optimise the virtual experience for employees.

says Murphy.

The use of Teams to support large scale meetings and events during COVID-19 and beyond has enabled Stockland to reach a much higher proportion of the company and engage a broader audience than had previously been possible.

Traditionally meetings at Stockland have been physical events that are recorded and then shared. These can be costly to stage and often only accessible to people in metropolitan offices – regional employees tend to miss out or have to watch a video later.

However, when Stockland’s executive committee ran an all-employee meeting on Teams shortly after COVID-19 struck, it meant that all employees had access to watch it live regardless of their physical location. Not only was attendance up, it was easy to set up the event says Murphy who adds; “If we wanted to set one up today, or tomorrow, we could do so very quickly.”

Teams can also be used by third party organisations to engage with employees across the country. Stockland employees recently, 391 attended the Teams event.  This has enabled Stockland to accelerate the delivery of further education and information programs run on Teams from wellbeing workshops to an exploration of neuro leadership.

“Teams has been really good in terms of opening up those new vistas, opening up those new ways of working and getting us all to think about – do we need to travel interstate to engage with people on topics that are meaningful to everyone?” says Murphy.

Typically, a major physical event involves hiring a venue, cameras, lighting, audio and video technicians, now through the use of Teams meetings can be set up swiftly with increased efficiency and maximum reach.

Single source of truth

Emma Bright, a Project Implementation Specialist at Stockland says that a further benefit of using Teams has been the ability to share and collaborate on key project deliverables by enabling a greater transparency across workloads and individual commitments offering a single source of truth and visibility regarding progress.

Bright also states “Within Teams the Planner Dashboard has been a great tool to help quickly identify blockers and priority items as well as helping each other across the team to close out tasks supporting our Agile approach”

That will be useful as people start to settle into new ways of working as Stockland progresses through the COVID future recovery phase. Bright says Teams is making it easier to collaborate and embraces the flexibility that comes from working in this way, adding that productivity remained high whilst working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions.

One reason for that is that while people may have been physically separated, they were digitally connected.

That sense of connectedness across organisations who operate on a similar national level can be challenging. With Teams as the communications and collaboration glue, it has been easier to bring people together to share company wide information through an inclusive platform that scales.

Murphy believes that tfurther increase in productivity.

“We have the Microsoft suite of applications and connectors plugged in and ready to use. For example, we have Planner, OneNote and you can connect to multiple SharePoint repositories within the one Team for ease of collaboration,” says Murphy.

What is the roadmap for Teams at Stockland?  Murphy says “We are looking to leverage the opportunities associated with Teams in other areas of our business, for example deploying chat bots to help automate processes such as resource bookings and starting to really connect via Live Events with our Residential communities.

We are very excited about the future and It all heralds a digitally charged new normal.