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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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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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The Workplace of the Future

Businesses are increasingly providing their employees with options to work remotely; in fact, according to ‘The Expanding Role Of Mobility In The Workplace’ study conducted by Forrester, 52% of companies globally are now happy to support this important shift in working practice. And this trend is expanding; according to SalesforceRypple, it’s estimated that one-third of the global workforce will be mobile or based outside the office by 2015.

New Demand for mobile work options According to a study in 2012, 96% of executives blame lack of collaboration and poor communication for workplace failures.  Addressing the communication challenges associated with these issues could be seen as expensive and time consuming – however, it doesn’t need to be. Cisco is enabling customers to improve collaboration through a solution that unifies different communication channels into one single tool.

Organisations are already beginning to see increased use of personal and company provided devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Whilst this can increase an organisation’s productivity, it also creates internal compatibility challenges. Unless organisations embrace this change in the business environment, they could struggle to maintain efficiency and keep pace with the competition. Read More »

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Telework Week: A Public Sector Success Story

March 4 marks the beginning of the third annual Telework Week, a week-long effort to get public sector agencies, companies and individuals to pledge to telework. Once again, Cisco is proud to be a platinum sponsor of this worthwhile event.

Last year, more than 71,000 people – 94 percent of whom were federal employees – participated, saving more than 250,000 hours in commuting time and more than 6.4 million miles of driving. It was a new record, but this year’s participation promises to be even greater and we have already surpassed our goal of 100,000 pledges. Among the federal agencies participating this year are USDA, DOT, FEMA, NASA, FAA, and USPTO. Read More »

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Teleworking at Its Finest – Driving Innovation…and Family Time

This week it seems the topic of teleworking has garnered more attention than who wore what at the Oscars.

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.

Angie_Michael_Final[3]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.

On the other hand, I am Read More »

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