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Cisco Named to Working Mother 100 Best Companies List

As a working mom of two of the best and brightest kids (no bias here!) I couldn’t be prouder that Cisco again made the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list.  When you think about it though, “Mother” is a bit of a misnomer here. Really most Cisco employees, about 99 percent in fact, benefit from the flexible work practices that have become the hallmark of our corporate culture and one of the things that makes Cisco such a great place to work.

Progressive, flexible work policies are table stakes, but lets not forget about the technology that has made it all possible. I remember back in the day, I was working late one night at home when my dial up (yes, dial up) malfunctioned. I had to hop in the car close to midnight and drive to the Cisco office just to log onto the corporate network and send an email. Today, thanks to the power of the network (do I sound like a commercial?) I can work from anywhere, at anytime and be productive.

While flexibility is key, it’s not the only thing that Working Mother highlights as a characteristic of a “Best Company.”   Check out the complete story for more details.

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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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To Bring Or Not to Bring?

There’s no question, the employee-led mobility revolution has arrived. Will the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies that must inevitably follow come soon enough?

Everyone is bringing their devices, everywhere they go. People, no matter their occupation, want to check the news, keep in touch, catch up on email, and stay productive or entertained wherever they are. So the real question for government organizations becomes, “how do we address this mobile explosion and the proliferation of employee devices?”

IMG_6600TabletGovt.Many have yet to implement BYOD policies for fear of the security implications and exposing sensitive data. But what is the security risk of doing nothing? In a recent Forrester survey of 498 government employees from around the world, more than half of the respondents (57%) said their organizations provided limited or no support for employee devices and some even said their employers prohibit mobile devices outright. The survey also revealed that 3 out of 10 government workers in these situations find “alternative ways” of using their device for work.

This poses a problem for government agencies: having no policy or prohibiting devices is risky because employees are bringing and using their devices anyway.

Read More »

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Technology, Policy and People – Your Keys to a Successful Telework Program

At Cisco we recognize that successful telework programs include technology as well as policy and people!  When I  speak of “policy” I am referring to mandates at state, local, provincial and/or federal levels; as well as any internal organizational policies and procedures to ensure delivery of agency mission.  But what about the ‘people’ - your workforce?  I read a lot about policy and trends happening around the globe -- focus on GhG emissions, continuity of government, energy and real estate reductions, information assurance, etc… but hear little of ”the workforce” and the acknowledgement that ”work is what we do, not a place.”  

Critical to the success of any telework program I would suggest are the ‘people.’  We are what makes any good strategy succeed!  If you agree with my thinking, then you may find a recent paper authored by WorldatWork, “Telework: Considerations for an Effective Program,”  may help your assessment on workforce eligibility… and help contribute to program success as it focuses on the user of telework, we the people.  Here is a sampling of few questions you may take into consideration when determining eligibility of telework… Does the job lend itself t o a telework environment?  Does the employee who is requesting the arrangement demonstrate a strong work ethic and does he/she continuously meet his/her work deadlines?  More…

 As you execute your plan and move from “the evaluation phase” to “training and launch phase” Cisco Collaboration/Video Solutions for Government like Webex and video are very effective training and communication tools to help facilitate your telework program training plans.  These secure, collaborative tools can meet the requirements of the entire workforce including employee, middle management, IT and facility organization, as well as help avoid unnecessary travel and expenses too!

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Telework: Stressing over what you can’t see?

Looking for tips on how to manage your teleworkers… and what you can’t see?  Join me and hundreds of others at the 2011 Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting , today in Washington, DC.   Hear from distinguished industry experts and US Federal Government leaders on how they are successfully supporting telework.  Can’t attend, then check out the “Five Tips to Manage What You Can’t See”from WorldatWork, a not-for-profit organization providing education, conferences and research focused on global human resources issues including compensation, benefits, work-life and integrated total rewards to attract, motivate and retain a talented workforce.

Know of other helpful tools and resources, please share!

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