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This bar is top shelf and high tech


“When COVID-19 first hit, the average amount of people in the building dropped from around 5,000 down to around 100 in a matter of days. It felt like a ghost town.”

The Tech Bar at the ANZ Centre was relocated to Upper Ground Floor and extra cleaning measures put in place. Photo credit: Arsineh Houspian

I’ve worked at ANZ for a decade now. The Tech Bar has been around for five or six years. In my role as an engineer, I provide face-to-face technical support for staff at the ANZ Centre in Melbourne’s Docklands.


We have eight team members and assist staff with a huge variety of technology issues to do with hardware, software or their phone.


Logging into his workstation at the Tech Bar at ANZ Centre, Docklands. Photo courtesy of: Edwin Low.


Ghost town


I never expected to see nearly an entire office building cleared out for people to work from home. It all happened in what felt like the click of the fingers and was both nerve racking and surprising.


When COVID-19 first hit, the average number of people in the office dropped from around 5,000 to 100 in a matter of days. It felt like a ghost town. My team had no idea whether people would be visiting the Tech Bar at all in person.

An empty office floor at ANZ Centre. Photo credit: Arsineh Houspian


We have four Tech Bars spanning the major ANZ buildings in Melbourne. When everyone went into lockdown, they were consolidated into one at Docklands. Anyone who needed our help was only allowed to visit us if they had a permit which allowed them to come in and have their issue fixed face-to-face.


The number of people visiting the Tech Bar in one day dropped from more than 100 to about 20.


Stairs were taped off to stop people from accessing closed floors at ANZ Centre. Photo credit: Arsineh Houspian


All the cafes in the building were suddenly closed and the only people I saw - apart from my team mates on a daily basis – were security and mailroom staff.  Standing in the atrium, I could hear my own voice echo through the building. All the main doors and turnstiles were locked and because the floors were empty, they were shrouded in darkness. 

The usually bustling floors and lobby of ANZ Centre were mostly empty and in darkness. Photo credit: Arsineh Houspian


We’re located in an office precinct area so finding a car park was easy. And there wasn’t a problem buying items in high demand (toilet paper, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes).


Toilet paper aplenty


According to partial data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in April 2020, retail sales soared by 8.2 per cent the month before.


The sale of toilet paper, tissue paper, flour, rice and pasta more than doubled. Canned foods, cleaning goods and medicinal products saw a 50 per cent increase.


Measures to stop the spread


To reduce potential and unnecessary movement and interactions from people travelling in lifts or wandering around the building, the Tech bar moved to an accessible location on the ground floor, through the thermal scanners in the foyer.


Thermal scanners were installed at the entrance point at ANZ Centre. Photo credit: Arsineh Houspian


New starters seeking our help getting their computers set-up could easily find us and potential touch points along the way were reduced.


In our roles, it’s very difficult to maintain the social distancing requirements so when wearing a mask became mandatory I felt much more comfortable about being in the office. From the beginning though, we were well looked after with plenty of hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial wipes and extra cleaning in the office.


ANZ employee wearing a face mask at work at ANZ Centre. Photo credit: Arsineh Houspian


Technical issues working from home


The number of tech issues seemed to increase as more and more people worked from home. There were all kinds of issues like connection to the ANZ network, phone issues and broken keyboards - I never thought I’d hear the words ‘the dog ate my keyboard’ but it happened!


Issues connecting to the network were challenging. If the helpdesk wasn’t able to fix the problem remotely, the staff member had to obtain a permit to come into the office.


Looking forward


As more people return to the office, I’m most excited about seeing my team in real life. We have our virtual meetings every week but I’ve really missed being able to tap someone on the shoulder or yell out if you need help and vice versa.


I’ve also really missed seeing familiar faces over the past year – you build relationships with people when they visit the Tech Bar - although I bet they hope they don’t need to visit too often. This is something I’m really looking forward to in the coming months.


ANZ is embracing what we’ve learnt during the pandemic about where work can be done, using that to evolve how we’ll work at ANZ on an ongoing basis.


Edwin’s role is considered ‘workplace first’ which means he is required to work predominantly from an ANZ workplace most, or all of the time.



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