ATO finds myths dominate digital workplace ‘rules’


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The Tax Office asked its staff how they use technology in their work — and were surprised at some of the preferences of digital natives. This shows the importance of asking, not assuming, argues ATO deputy commissioner Jacqueline Curtis.

Digital natives don’t like working from home and prefer not to bring their own device, according to research conducted by the Australian Tax Office with its own workforce.

Jacqueline Curtis

Jacqueline Curtis

“The research we did really strongly suggests it is important to co-design with your workforce in order to be sure that the assumptions you are making about their needs and requirements are not just assumptions, that they are actually reflecting the needs of the workforce,” ATO People deputy commissioner Jacqueline Curtis told the Australia and New Zealand School of Government conference earlier this month.

Describing herself as a ‘digital stranger’ — a category that includes most people born before 1980 — Curtis revealed that 75% of the 18,500-strong ATO workforce is also a digital stranger. Perhaps problematically, this includes most of the agency’s leadership, “and we are making the decisions about the technology, capability, development, and processes and procedures that are going to be in place for the generation that’s coming through.”

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