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How Cisco IT Delivers Teleworker Services

What does it actually take to enable the 89 percent of Cisco employees who do at least some of their work remotely? For Cisco IT, this challenge means supporting products and services on both sides of the connection: in the teleworker’s home (and on their mobile devices) and in the Cisco corporate network.

Cisco Teleworkers Solutions in Employee Homes

We currently support three solutions to meet the teleworking needs of our mobile and remote employees:

  • Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client: Installed on the employee’s laptop or mobile device, this software client provides a secure VPN connection to the Cisco network. It is available to any Cisco employee and we currently support 30,000 users.
  • Cisco OfficeExtend: This solution includes a wireless access point that secures connectivity for the employee’s laptop and Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971 over a home network while reducing congestion, wireless interference, and security risks from other devices. We use this solution primarily for contact center agents, contractors, and employees who don’t require the HD-quality video of Cisco TelePresence for their work.
  • Cisco Virtual Office: This solution uses a Cisco 881 Integrated Services Router in the home to connect an employee’s laptop and Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971 to the Cisco network over an encrypted VPN. It also delivers HD video for the Cisco Jabber Video for TelePresence client or a separate Cisco EX 90 personal video endpoint. Cisco Virtual Office is used by employees who telework extensively and we currently support over 26,000 users.

The diagram below shows how these solutions connect to the Cisco network via the employee’s residential broadband Internet access service.

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How Telework Helps Cisco Recruit and Retain Employees

Why does top talent choose to join a company? Then, once they are employees, why do they stay?

At Cisco, one factor is consistent among our diverse, global workforce: the flexibility of our telework program and the Cisco technologies that enable it.

Recruiting the Best Workforce

As a global company, we know that talent lives everywhere in the world, but not always near a Cisco office. Our telework program helps us recruit the right employees because they won’t need to make a hard, long commute or face the life and family disruption of a relocation.

One employee wanted to raise his family in Illinois where he could be close to his extended family. Cisco supported his choice by allowing him to telework – one of the first employees to do so at Cisco – and was able to keep this valued technical employee with the company.

Other employees tell me that working from home enables them to work much more flexibly, and this motivates them to work even harder for their team, manager, and Cisco. The motivation produced by flexible working appears to play a role in our employees’ performance, with a higher percentage of mobile and remote employees receiving the top two performance evaluation rankings compared to traditional office workers.

Flexible work arrangements are also very important to the millennial generation that is now entering the workforce. Data in our 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report indicates that a majority of today’s university students value unconventional work schedules and believe they can work more productively away from the office.

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What Makes a Telework Program Successful?

The Cisco telework program has evolved over the years from a convergence of top-down company practices with bottom-up changes in employee expectations. From our experience we have learned how several factors can make flexible work a success for everyone.


Clear policies and company culture. Cisco has adopted a flexible policy that enables many employees to telework, based on their job requirements and their manager’s approval. Where necessary, this policy is customized to reflect country-specific laws and employee entitlements. Also important is creating a company culture of trusting employees to work responsibly, strong performance management practices and finding the right balance of autonomous and collaborative action.

But a successful teleworking program requires more.

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Attention Agencies – It’s Time to Enable Your Mobile Workforce

I am drafting this blog on my laptop, sitting in the Embassy Suites lounge in Raleigh, North Carolina, enjoying the complimentary breakfast buffet. I share this not to disclose my breakfast habits, nor my whereabouts but to illustrate that we are relying more and more on mobile devices to keep us connected, both professionally and personally. In fact analysts predict that by the end of 2013, 80 percent of companies will allow BYOD (bring your own device) for employees.

As today’s workers embrace mobility, they have expectations that their experience outside of the office should mirror their experience inside the office.  With mobility trends like telework and BYOD on the rise, it’s important that government organizations stay ahead of technology trends to better deliver their employees with the right tools that allow them to collaborate from anywhere at any time.   Read More »

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The Power of Video for Government – Improve Collaboration, Lower Costs

Chances are, you’ve heard this line or a variation thereof before: “Video conferencing improves collaboration and lowers costs for organizations around the world.” While this is true, for this blog, I want to focus on ways video is changing government by sharing the story of two government agencies that are using video in new and unique ways.

We frequently hear how important it is to “do more with less.” In the face of sequestrations and reduced traveling budgets, this is a reality, and agencies are turning to alternatives like video conferencing. Video technologies such as telepresence are streamlining government processes and increasing collaboration, all while cutting costs. Read More »

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