Valuing diversity: accessibility at nbn

6-minute read
When it comes to the ‘why’ of the nbn™ network, and of accessibility in the workplace at nbn, it’s all about valuing the rich diversity of our workforce and nation.

At nbn, our purpose has been to raise the digital capability of Australia, ensuring that all Australians have access to fast broadband as soon as possible, at affordable prices and at the least cost.

And throughout it all – with the initial build of the nbn™ network now complete* and as we continue evolving Australia’s digital backbone – we’ve been committed to accessibility.

As outlined in our first Accessibility and Inclusion Plan 2019-2021, at nbn, we're committed to offering an accessible and inclusive workplace, products and services for our employees, customers and community.

So, what does accessibility in the workplace at nbn look like?

Put simply, it comes down to people – the people behind our network and those behind its purpose.

Stay tuned for the upcoming companion blog on how the nbn™ network is helping to support accessibility for customers across Australia.

Meet Tiffany

nbn's Tiffany Giorgianni with her family.

Melbourne-based Tiffany Giorgianni works in Customer, Product and Marketing at nbn, and has been with the business for six years.

Married with a two-year-old daughter, Tiffany was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2013.

“Along with many symptoms, this has always had small impacts on my walking and causes a lot of fatigue, all of which are worse in the heat when my core temperature is raised.

“To help manage fatigue and other symptoms, I’ve had a Flexible Working Arrangement in place since 2015 to work from home two out of five days per week.

“Working from home wasn’t new to me, so initially when COVID-19 began getting serious in early-March, I was happy to work from home full time.”

‘To provide an inclusive workplace free from barriers where people with disability can feel safe, welcome and empowered.’

“Thinking it would allow me to conserve the energy I’d normally use for travelling to and from the office, meetings, coffee catch ups and lunches, and redirect that energy to doing the things I love after work and on weekends.

“Fast forward four months and I began to struggle with things I’d normally do with ease.

“It turns out, since working from home full time, Victoria’s lockdown and limiting my movements during the day/week, has caused me to lose a lot of the strength and mobility I had before.

“I’m now working with an Exercise Physiologist (EP) three times a week to slowly rebuild my strength and improve my mobility.

“With nbn’s flexible working hours, along with the full support of HR and Management, I’ve been able to attend my EP sessions three times per week in the afternoon.

“This allows me to continue to work full time and limits the impacts on my family-life.”

Flexibility at nbn

nbn is committed to providing a caring, flexible and open environment for our people to support their ability to manage their professional and personal life.

We understand that, at times, our employees may need to work flexibly to manage personal and work commitments, and we provide a range of options and associated support for all employees.

Our open approach to flexibility helps us to attract, engage and retain the best talent. It is simply part of how we work at nbn.

Better together, Diversity and Inclusion at nbn

Meet Will

will-irving-foyer
Will Irving, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, and Executive Sponsor for Accessibility, at nbn.

Will Irving is Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, and Executive Sponsor for Accessibility, at nbn.

“Accessibility is particularly important to nbn because enabling people is at the core of nbn’s purpose: to lift the digital capability of Australia.

“When we lift capability – when we enable people – whether in the digital, physical or mental worlds, we all benefit.

“So, from a customer perspective, it applies to how we serve and interact with everyone in Australia. For each of us as people who work here in pursuit of our purpose, creating an Accessible environment should be a quintessential part of who we are.”

“When we are enabled to give our best, it is truly remarkable what can be achieved.”

“Accessibility is also relevant to every single person at nbn.

“All of us deal with complex challenges – whether at work or home or both – and our success is measured in how we overcome things and deliver in our roles. When we are enabled to give our best, it is truly remarkable what can be achieved.

“This is magnified for those of us affected by disability, whether directly or in our close circle.

“Accessibility is powerfully enabling – for us, for nbn and for the communities we serve and are part of.” 

Meet Storm

Each year on 3 December, International Day for People with Disability aims to “increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions”.

A United Nations observed day that’s celebrated across the globe, 2020 focused on “Building back better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world”.

At nbn, we recognised this important day by inviting Storm Robbins to share his experiences during a special event for nbn employees.

A decorated public speaker, Storm is an avid traveller, RMIT graduate and community leader who lives with cerebral palsy. 

“Accessibility is important for everyone with special needs because it creates social inclusion, job opportunities and promotes independence.”

His mission is to “help the community realise that a person with a disability is no different and they need to be respected like any other individual in the community”.

Storm shared his powerful message during the event that was available to all nbn employees in-person or via live stream.

Decorated public speaker, Storm Robbins.
“Accessibility is important for everyone with special needs because it creates social inclusion, job opportunities and promotes independence,” says Storm.

Meet Amy

Amy Whalley, Acting CEO at Australian Network on Disability, agrees about the importance of accessibility – and celebrating it.

“International Day for People with Disability is an important time to celebrate and acknowledge the social and economic contributions of people with disability.

“The day encourages organisations to raise the understanding of disability, and mobilises support and action for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of people with disability.”

“We all have a role to play as we reopen and rebuild our communities to welcome and include everyone so that we can all flourish.”
amy-whalley-and
Amy Whalley, Acting CEO at Australian Network on Disability.

“The theme from 2020 was ‘Building back better: creating a post COVID world that is inclusive, accessible and sustainable’.

“We all have a role to play as we reopen and rebuild our communities to welcome and include everyone so that we can all flourish,” says Amy.

nbn partners with Australian Network on Disability (AND) to inform our approach to Accessibility. Our Accessibility and Inclusion Plan 2019-2021 was created with AND’s support.

Accessibility in action

In line with our Accessibility and Inclusion Plan 2019-2021, some of the ways we’ve been working to improve accessibility at nbn include:

  • Launching an active and engaged employee network for Accessibility
  • Raising visibility and engagement on Accessibility through internal communications and events across the business
  • Raising awareness and increasing the disability confidence of our people through an online learning module
  • Providing supportive, safe and inclusive environments for employees with disability through policies on mental health, workplace adjustments, personal emergency evacuation plans and flexible working
  • Implementing an Accessibility recruitment review to ensure our recruitment processes are welcoming and inclusive for candidates with a disability

Just as the nbn™ network continues to evolve to meet our nation’s changing needs, so too will Accessibility at nbn continue to develop and mature – for the people at the heart of our network. 

* nbn's initial volume build completion commitment was that all standard installation premises in Australia would be able to connect to the nbn™ network as at 30 June 2020. This excludes premises in future new developments which would be an ongoing activity for the Company beyond 30 June 2020. It also excludes a small proportion of premises defined as ‘complex connections’ – which includes properties that are difficult to access, culturally significant areas and heritage sites – where connection depends on factors outside nbn's control such as permission from traditional owners, and where network construction to allow such premises to connect will be an ongoing activity of nbn beyond the build completion date.