By Tania Phillips
While many businesses reduced their hours or even had to shut down during the pandemic some have been busier than ever.
For Telstra Berwick at Eden Rise and the Telstra Casey Central kiosk the past few months have been particularly full-on.
Administration and marketing manager for the two businesses Olga Ishak said with telecommunications becoming even more important while people were locked down and not able to have direct contact with each other, staff at both had been busy supporting their community.
“Our staff have been helping people to understand and access services they need to carry out school and work from home,” she explained.
“We have been helping the older generation who have needed help setting up the internet and zoom on devices on Zoom as well as helping kids as they transitioned to learning from home.”
Both stores have been operational seven days a week just as they would have before the Covid 19 lockdown with the only change to their hours coming during the height of the restrictions when both stores did not have their Thursday and Friday late night openings.
“There was no one around in the evenings at either centre,” she said of the decision.
“We usually open until 7pm on Thursday and Friday but we pulled it back to 5.30pm in the beginning.
“Most businesses were only open 9am to 5pm including Coles and Woolworths.”
Olga said the decision was made for staff safety but with more and more people now coming out again they were now back to their normal operational hours at both locations – going through to 7pm again on Thursday and Friday.
To staying operational during the early days of lockdown obviously came with it’s own challenges including putting up screens, social distancing and hygiene – including having to ring around to locate “tonnes of disinfectant”.
“Some of our staff have worn masks while others chose not to,” she said.
As well as the additional business caused by people up-dating and upgrading and the extra time staff members spent making sure their customers were able to access and understand services the shops ended up with more phonecalls than ever.
She said what a lot of people didn’t realise that many of the Telstra Call Centres set up to help people were not operating and so calls were being redirected to the local stores adding to the workload.
However Olga said what had come through in the past few months had been just what a great team they had in place across both locations with most long-term staff members.
She said people could come in and get a new phone and the same staff would still be there next time they visit for a new phone guaranteeing them on-going service.
“We have had a lot of older members of the community coming in and our staff have gone above and beyond to help them,” Olga explained.
Telstra Berwick is store 20 at Eden Rise and can be contacted on 0387867922, tgelstra.com.au 03 8786 7922, open Monday to Wednesday 9am to 5.30pm, Thursday to Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.