Siosiua Tukutukunga is a senior customer service representative at Westpac and comes to work most days in the bank’s offices in Britomart. He joined the company as part of its high school recruitment programme, and while he appreciates the ability to work flexibly, he says face-to-face contact with his teams in the office is invaluable for his present work and future plans.
We interviewed him as part of a series talking to five Auckland workers under 30 about their preferred working styles, the importance of wellness, and how they stay connected.
JEREMY HANSEN Thanks for speaking to me today Siua. Would you mind introducing yourself to start with?
SIOSIUA TUKUTUKUNGA Sure. My name is Siosiua Tukutukunga. I started working in Westpac in 2020 as part of the high school graduate programme here. I’ve been here for over three years. I’m currently a senior customer service rep in our contact centre. I also take the inductions for our new cohorts that come through, as well as helping our office teams with any sort of backup or new processes.
JEREMY Does that mean you’re doing regular hours, or shift work?
SIOSIUA I mostly work regular hours, but it does change from time to time where I do an 11am to 7pm shift if needed.
JEREMY Do you work from the Westpac offices here in Britomart?
SIOSIUA I regularly come into the office, but I like the option of working flexibly too — there are times where I work from home if there are things I need to do there, but I prefer to come into the office. For me, I find it easy to slack off when I’m at home, so it’s easier to hold myself accountable for my work if I’m in the office and relax later when I’m able to. I find that it’s important to come into the office, especially when I’ve run an induction for our new cohorts. If they can see me, they can just walk up to me and ask for some help with their work — I’m able to assist quickly and it’s more efficient. It’s also more engaging for everyone in the team. All the new high school grads are looking for someone to relate to, and I’m the closest to them. We kind of come from the same demographic and all. So being able to come into office just allows me to relate to everyone or create relationships with everyone.
JEREMY Do you ask your teams to come to the office?
SIOSIUA They also have the option to work from home. Many of them are doing two days in the office and three days off site, which is totally up to them. The reason why I come in every day is because I see different people.
JEREMY What part does work play in your social life?
SIOSIUA For me, it’s a whole different environment from what I’m used to. Before this I’d never been in a corporate space. But being able to mix and mingle with those who’ve been here for a long time gives me a new perspective on life overall and how different people do things. It just gives me that insight. We’re gaining different types of skills from the workplace that we can’t get just from our social groups and from our families. It’s just a different space to be exposed to, a place where we can gain new types of knowledge. Working together and having those friendships here helps — when we go to work and know a mate’s there, it just makes a shift a bit more fun.
JEREMY You came to this job through a high school recruitment programme. What made it appeal to you?
SIOSIUA It was something totally different, something that I wasn’t used to. I was used to being able to do physical things, but this has been a whole new role, a whole new life. Coming into Westpac has opened my eyes wider to what the banking world is about. Now I have plans — I’m hoping to join a different team in the near future. Being in the office means I’m able to connect with those specific people and open those connections and opportunities by talking face to face.
JEREMY One of the things we’ve been talking about as part of this interview series is the challenges that working remotely can present to people’s mental well-being. How do you ensure that you’re taking care of your own mental well-being and those of your teams if you’re not seeing those people all the time?
SIOSIUA With my own mental well-being, if I’m working from home I always make sure I’m leaving the house at some point during the day. I’m living with my parents at the moment and sometimes they’ll forget that I’m working and ask me to do some chores around the house, which sometimes gets in the way but also helps get me out of the work zone during my breaks. But when we’re trying to connect to those who are working remotely, we make sure we have some sort of catch-up during the day where there’ll be just a quick, ‘Hey, how are you going? Everything all good?’ We also have our support line that anyone can call to ask for help.
JEREMY This is a broad generalisation, but I was wondering if you think your generation is generally better at asking for help than older generations.
SIOSIUA I think it varies. My generation, we tend to reach out to our friends, but more for distraction than talking about the issues. We can have one-on-one convos with our mates, but if we are just wanting to get distracted, we just get a whole bunch of us around each other and just go do some things.
JEREMY Would you ever take a job that was fully remote, with no office?
SIOSIUA I wouldn’t take a job that was fully remote. I’d lose that engagement and I’d lose the motivation and that excitement for the job.
JEREMY But would you have to have flexibility as part of a job offer?
SIOSIUA Yes. Because I do have those times where I need to look after my parents, and I need flexibility to do that. And there are parents in our teams, and they need that for their kids as well.
There are five interviews in our This is how I want to work series. Our other interviewees are Monk Mackenzie Architectural Graduate Samuel Negash, Previously Unavailable Junior Brand Consultant Ria Sharma, EY Senior Consultant Renee Black, and Anderson Lloyd Senior Solicitor Rachel Brown.
Photographs by Samantha Totty.