As I wrapped up my monthly forecast call last week, it struck me just how drastically work has changed in the last decade. It was 10 p.m. and I was in my hotel room in Macau, face-to-face with sales team leads in Singapore, the U.K., Switzerland, and the U.S., over video. Ten years ago, mobile phones were just phones, and for many, the office was where you met with co-workers and got your work done.
Today we’re mobile. Our workforce is globally distributed. Deadlines are shorter than ever. We need to make decisions faster. With multiple generations in the workforce, we must accommodate a wide range of behaviors, outlooks, expectations, and work styles. To stay competitive, we need to look beyond commute distance to find the best talent.
I’ve said before that embedding collaboration technology into workplace design is critical to the success of any workplace transformation effort. Our activity-based work spaces must give employees secure, seamless access to the information they need to get their jobs done. But this must also extend beyond the walls of our offices so we can collaborate no matter where we are – at home, at a customer site, inflight at 30,000 feet, or in a hotel room in Macau.
And we’re not the only ones who think so.
- Almost half of professionals worldwide are already working remotely at least some of the time
- Globally, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion by 2015
- 61% of employees globally believe they don’t need to be in the office to be productive and efficient
- 70% of aspiring executives who plan to manage large teams say they will rely more heavily on video in the next 5 to 10 years
Work Is What We Do, Not Where We Go
At Cisco, our own work profile surveys show that among Cisco employees:
- 50% time is spent collaborating with distant colleagues in other cities or time zones
- 52% work in a different location than their manager
- Those who telecommute once a week save Cisco $2,500 per employee annually
Excellent collaboration technology for all is no longer a “nice to have,” it’s a “must-have.” Fostering a workforce that is as productive outside the office as it is in the office – if not more – means providing every employee with the technology to collaborate effectively. Employees need to feel like they’re part of a team, wherever they happen to be.
Cisco’s technology is seamless, fluid, and works in any environment: in every room, on every desk, and in every pocket. And it’s not just for executives. The tools I use are no different than those available to anyone else at Cisco. I connect with my team via WebEx from my home. I meet with a customer using a room-based solution like the MX800 at the office. I coordinate logistics with my assistant over Jabber while I’m attending a conference or waiting in an airport lounge.
Cisco blends the physical and virtual workplace worlds, allowing you to collaborate seamlessly with an entire ecosystem of people – employees, suppliers, business partners, and customers – from wherever you happen to be. And when this happens, the results are greater customer satisfaction; improved productivity; lower costs; happier, more engaged employees; and greater innovation and growth.
What plans do you have to make your workforce more mobile? Let me know in the comments below.