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Virtual Work Works, But Don’t Confuse Technology with Change Management

April 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm PST

I was in a brainstorm meeting about my team’s next-generation strategy last week, and we made a number of random connections that knitted together a pretty big idea — the kind of dot-connecting that only happens when people with different (and sometime conflicting) perspectives trust each other in the pursuit of an important goal.

Five of us worked on the idea, but only two of us were in the room physically together. Yes, I’ll say it out loud:  three people were working from home.

Much has been said and written recently about the value of working virtually, and I don’t think you can sub-divide mobility into “at home” and “on the road.” Social technologies, video and mobile platforms make it easy to work from just about anywhere.

But as leaders, we have to resist the temptation to confuse technology with change management -- despite our love affair with technology. Any time technology brings a sea-change transformation to the way humans do stuff, especially work stuff, we can’t forget that people work in organizations — and organizations are an amalgam of culture, processes and technology.

All of Cisco’s experience has taught us that Read More »

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Telecommuting – A Working Dad’s Perspective

For the majority of my IT career, I’ve been very fortunate and grateful for the various technologies Cisco provides that allow me to effectively manage and juggle my professional and personal life.  As a first time father to a beautiful and precious one-year-old girl, the flexibility to work anytime and anywhere is a tremendous benefit! While any parent with kids knows no day or week is really typical, I’d like to share with you a typical week in the life of how collaborative/mobile technologies helps me stay productive while also retaining some level of sanity.

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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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Why Every Business Should Be a Fan of Teleworking

While employee work flexibility and increased job satisfaction are strong reasons to consider teleworking solutions, the latest report from the Telework Research Network shows that there are even more compelling reasons to support teleworking at your business.

Can you imagine a world where teleworking was the norm? In their U.S. report, the research organization identifies potential national savings of over $700 BILLION a year if those with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so just half the time. The Telework Research Network paints a pretty picture with these potential savings:

  • A typical business would save $11,000 per person per year
  • The telecommuters would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year
  • The oil savings would equate to over 37% of our Persian Gulf imports
  • The greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road.

You don’t need to be a finance person to see that this is one bandwagon businesses need to jump onto!

Don’t know where to start? It’s easy, and Cisco’s here to help.

The Cisco OfficeExtend 600 solution helps businesses enable teleworkers by extending wireless and wired access to the corporate network to the workers home or remote office locations.  The OfficeExtend solution provides secure access to the corporate network to deliver the same comprehensive access to business services that workers would get in main business office. Additionally, a corporate wired or wireless Cisco IP phone can be added to improve collaboration for teleworkers.

In addition, the teleworker can also setup personal wireless or wired access for personal use in their home or remote office.  The data traffic from the personal access is segmented and does not have access to the corporate network. This give the worker the flexibility to have a single Access Point in the home for work related access as well as personal networking activities while knowing that their corporate data traffic is fully secured.

telework

For more information please check out Cisco OfficeExtend Solution and Cisco Teleworker Solutions

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What’s Influencing the Future of Work in Australia? [Infographic]

So much about our working day has changed since the early 1900s, when work meant 14 hours, six days a week and only 20% of women participated in the workforce. Undoubtedly, the Internet has completely transformed the way we work, facilitating one in five Australian jobs now related to international trade and estimated to contribute $70 billion to our GDP by 2016.

As part of our Way You Work campaign, Cisco is examining the cultural, social and economic changes that have influenced our working world since the 1900’s. This infographic walks us through these changes and takes a sneak peak at what the future might hold.

 

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