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What I’ve Learned as a Teleworking Employee and Manager

My journey as a teleworking mom started almost ten years ago after I had my older son. I was coming back to work and in the process of changing roles at Cisco Systems. I live in North Carolina and had a job opportunity for a leader based in California. She knew that I wasn’t in a position to move and given we were already on opposite sides of the country, was supportive of my working from home. Thus my journey started as an individual contributor, working for a manager who based the decision to provide me flexibility on my track record of contribution at Cisco and her trust in my ability to do the job outside of an office.

Since then, I’ve been a part of the dramatic changes that have place in the workplace. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article on flexible work practices, the mobile worker population will be approximately 1.3 billion by 2015. At Cisco, almost 50% of our employees are collaborating with peers in other time zones and almost 90% telecommute at least one day per week. In many of our emerging countries, employees view flexibility as a right that is expected, versus a privilege that is earned.

My life has evolved as well. I’ve had another child and become a manager of a virtual team, with responsibility for a number of HR processes, including flexible work practices at Cisco. My experiences have offered me a few insights on how to be effective in our increasingly virtual world of work. Let me share these with you.

From an employee perspective, I have three tips that I think have been important toward my success. Read More »

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HOW WELL DOES TELEWORKING TRANSLATE?

Teleworking in emerging markets is on the increase. It’s helping businesses across Emerging countries to work and collaborate effectively, and be more productive wherever they are located.

In South Africa, 85% of companies offer flexible working*, which is a much higher proportion than some European countries. The next generation of workers in the Middle-East and Africa are expecting to have the option to work at home. In fact, only 9% think they’ll be in the office full time*, which suggests the days of a fixed workplace and 9-to-5 working are over.

At Cisco, we’re committed to offering choice to our workforce. We think this is fundamental to a positive and engaging employee experience. Teleworking here is encouraged and let me offer you a personal story from this week.

We had an Emerging Theatre ‘All Hands’ hosted by my boss and myself via WebEx. Let’s consider the numbers: we set this up giving our teams just 10 days’ notice; and we brought together over 500 of our colleagues from their desktops, workplaces and home offices to educate and inspire them using video collaboration: presentations, webcam and a Q&A via chat, text, email and audio.  This was one of the largest assemblies of our team this year and it took place across 12 timezones for 90 minutes.

Those numbers are quite staggering, even more so when you begin to consider the wider benefits: minimal disruption, maximum attendance, no additional travel arrangements, venues, (catering, flights, taxis, or hotels) and the bonus for employees is minimal impact on their private lives. The value for us is not merely in having the capability and flexibility to host this kind of event but also the level of participation and commitment from our teams.

What employees need – as well as choice – is sensitivity to their circumstances and flexible workspaces that match their needs. For companies, not only does finding the right solution help to maintain productivity levels, it can also motivate existing staff and help you attract talent from the next generation who expect teleworking to be an option throughout their careers.

On a daily basis the power of our teleworking is bringing our talented people from across the whole of Emerging closer together at Cisco and the effects of teleworking on our productivity at work and our quality of life cannot be underestimated. We look forward to seeing you on a screen near us soon!

*Regus, 2011, global research report based on responses from 17,000 businesses across 80 countries

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Cisco’s New Small Business Portfolio—Fortifying the Future

The number of mobile-connected devices has broken the 1 billion mark. That’s not too surprising, given that as we grow more reliant on our devices and mobility, we also become more reliant on the Internet to get things done, take care of customers, and expand our businesses. In fact, we see a future that is defined by what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE), bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Yet Cisco estimates that about 99.4 percent of what could be connected by the Internet is currently unconnected. That’s pretty staggering. Imagine how even a fraction of that could affect your business—by connecting employees when they’re mobile and connecting customers and partners to keep business processes and sales in progress.

Cisco’s latest offerings are designed to capitalize on connectivity, helping to fuel small business success and pave the way for future growth.

Lief Keopsel recently discussed how the growing mobile population calls for a new approach. Cisco’s expanding small business portfolio helps customers find the right technology to meet their evolving needs—such as increasing overall productivity, bolstering responsiveness, and beating the competition. But we haven’t stopped there. We’ve recently added additional routers and wireless access points.

Ultimately, we’re developing a portfolio that helps small businesses perform to their maximum potential through offerings that span security, connectivity, and collaboration.

Security Is a Competitive Advantage
Through all this, whether you’re increasing productivity or enabling collaboration, you really have to keep security at the forefront. It’s what gives you the edge. If you missed the recent blog post featuring David Lawrence from Smart Technology Enablers talking about the Cisco ISA500 Series, please listen in. David describes how the Cisco ISA500 Series helps customers safeguard against outside threats while allowing employees to securely access information remotely.

Connectivity Is Key to Productivity
Check out how our newly launched products deliver greater capabilities with built-in intelligence to provide more options for getting things done and creating a more customer-centric business model, regardless of location.

Collaboration Improves Business Effectiveness
Bringing together people is a key part of our value proposition. We’re helping small businesses respond to customers more quickly and cultivate stronger customer engagement and loyalty. All while lowering the cost of doing business.

We understand that making the right technology decision is critical. And to that point, we’re proud of the recognition we’ve received from Miercom. Linda Beaton’s post on February 8 highlights  a recent study by Miercom. This report favorably compared the Cisco SF500, SG500, and SG500X switches with similar products offered by HP, D-Link, and Netgear.

To learn more about the Cisco Small Business products referenced here, please visit our website. Or to learn more about our Cisco Services, click here. If you’re a Cisco partner, check out our Partner Launch page to help seize new market opportunities and add value to your customers.

How are these changes affecting you? And, how can we help to strengthen our partnership?

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Amp Up Your Collaborative Power With Enhanced Video And Content Quality

We’ve shared with you in previous posts Cisco’s vision on how high-intensity collaboration can transform the meeting experience. With this in mind, we have just released new features and functionality available on the immersive Cisco TelePresence TX Series.  Experience is always top-of-mind with our TelePresence portfolio and the new features include enhanced video and content quality.  Read More »

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Telework as we know it

As I sit in my home office, surrounded by amazing technology, I’m struck by how different telework is today from just a few years ago.

A few years ago it started with a second phone line and the company VPN.  Today my laptop is plugged into a workstation connected to a Cisco router, as is my Cisco IP phone.  When someone calls my work phone it rings in multiple places at once.  And my computer monitor is huge, which makes my high-definition videoconferences all the more interesting. I can even access the corporate network with my iPad, at home or on the go.  For me, it’s all seamless.  Everything I do is connected, and easier, thanks to Cisco. Read More »

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