Europe’s leading home improvement retailer, Kingfisher, was looking for a way to streamline its supply chain and enhance their direct sourcing. As a company that makes do-it-yourself projects easier and more affordable, Kingfisher was facing increasingly difficult logistical challenges with key partners and offices spread out across the globe.
Employees from multiple locations had to travel frequently to meet with buyers and quality control teams in operating companies, resulting in huge travel costs and significant wasted time . Kingfisher found that these issues impeded design processes and the company’s attempts to adopt more agile ways of working.
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
You may have noticed that I’ve been missing from the Cisco blogosphere the past few months. Don’t worry it’s not because I’ve become any less passionate about telepresence and collaboration and what we’re doing here at Cisco. I’ve had a recent addition to my family. But with the recent conversation heating up on the topic of telework, I thought it was the perfect time to share my experience.
Putting on my “new mom” hat has me believing that the greatest benefit of telework is the flexibility it provides. As an employee of a company that encourages teleworking, I’ve never been more grateful for the opportunity to choose when I work in the office and when I don’t. And I know I’m not alone. People want the convenience of working from home and they want to avoid the time-suck of the daily commute. This does not mean they are less productive or innovative, in fact, I find the contrary to be true; which I expressed in a previous blog post.
Based on last year’s Telework Week, participants found that productivity was a top benefit – 71 percent of organizations reported increased productivity from working at home. The Stanford University Study, as referenced in the Boston Globe, also noted similar statistics with a 13 percent increase in work performance of those that volunteered to work from home.
It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but remember a couple of months ago when we were all reading articles like “5 ways technology will impact higher ed in 2013” about trends to watch in 2013? Well, at the beginning of the year, I highlighted four of those high-impact trends educators should be on the lookout for. Three of those trends were around the rise of the cloud, personal devices and flipped teaching, but one trend I’m really excited about is that of hybrid learning.
As new technologies begin to be used across campuses, educators are often challenged to find ways to best integrate the old with the new. As John Chambers recently said in his post around the Internet of Everything, ”My perspective is that it’s best to accept change as inevitable – to embrace it, lead it, and use it to shape desired outcomes,” and that’s exactly what I think will happen with hybrid learning. Read More »