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Summer’s Ending – But You Can Still Work Free From the Office

I always dread summer coming to an end.

Sure, it’s not like the old days when summer meant no school and running around free, but like most people, summer still makes me feel like I have more personal time and freedom. It must be the extra daylight.

Even if I can’t have the feeling of summer, it makes a huge difference to me if I can  work in different ways -- from home or even handling some to do items from the car.

One of the best things about the new, free version of WebEx, is that having a host account (yes, it’s free) means you can host a WebEx on your mobile. And that means I don’t have to be tethered to your computer.

Get your own free, basic WebEx account here.

In 2007, Cisco commissioned a study: Understanding and Managing the Mobile Workforce that looked at ways to really grasp how mobility was emerging. Of course, since then, “going mobile” has really become the norm.

In that study, they found:

Successful mobile workers tend to be resilient extroverts. They are open to new experiences and highly adaptable. And, contrary to the stereotype of the harassed and disoriented road warrior, they are supremely organized and independent-minded. With the right kind of tailored support, their productivity and adaptability make them superlative operators in an era of increasing demands and constant change.

In 2007, the Cisco study cited a prediction that “within two years, one quarter of the world’s working population will be mobile workers.” Not to freak anyone out but this was BEFORE Apple’s iPad was even released!

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Cisco Networking Academy: A Model for Both Workforce Training and K-12 Education

June 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm PST

No matter where you are in the world, you need networking skills to be competitive in today’s economy. In many countries, a lack of people with information and communications technology (ICT) skills is the biggest impediment to global competitiveness.

In the current issue of the Brunswick Review, Cisco Vice President of Corporate Affairs Amy Christen discusses how Cisco Networking Academy is helping to bridge this ICT skills gap by training 1 million people in 165 countries each year to build, maintain, and secure computer networks. Some of the facts Amy shares in her interview may surprise you.

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The Next-Gen Collaborator: Ready for a Mobile Workplace

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Eric Schoch, senior director for hosted collaboration  in Cisco’s Collaboration organization. Eric is responsible for hosted and “as a service” solutions, strategic pricing and licensing, and business development.

There is simply no denying the increasing importance of being connected. Generation Y in particular, who grew up with mobile devices affixed almost permanently to their hands, views connectivity as one of life’s fundamental resources.

The newest addition to the workforce considers their mobile devices as an essential workplace tool to managing their workload and connecting with their colleagues on the go. While sitting in a meeting or having lunch in the break room, you can almost visualize the text bubbles hovering over crowds of this generation of workers as fingers hammer away at phones and tablets, eyes glued to the shiny screens in their hands. BYOD

But this trend goes far beyond lunch hours and happy hours. As proven by Chapter Two of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, the next-generation workforce is demanding flexibility in their choice of devices in both the workplace and remote-work options, illustrating the importance of the Internet in workforce culture. Social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility, in the case of 30% of the study’s respondents, are more important when accepting a job than a higher salary.

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How To Make the Federal Workforce More Productive, Inclusive, Sustainable, and Resilient

Although federal agencies have made tremendous progress in reversing a sustained decline in telework participation, the objective of creating a more productive, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient federal workforce remains a work in progress.

The U.S. Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 dramatically improved the odds of success by creating Telework Managing Officers (TMOs) responsible for telework policy development and implementation in every agency. The first cadre of TMOs faces an exciting-and daunting-opportunity to create lasting impact in their agencies. They should interpret their roles broadly, to include not only the promotion of traditional telework arrangements, but also the development of mobility strategies that contribute meaningfully to agency business objectives such as productivity, inclusion, resilience, and sustainability.

Doing so will require engaging agency leadership on a range of different topics to develop an integrated plan.

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Telework: Why the Federal Workforce Could Be Efficient and Green

The federal government is a perennial target, always subject to accusations of waste and inefficiency, among other allegations. But recent developments in technology and new legislation hold out hope for a more efficient, effective, and greener federal workforce. The U.S. Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 generated tremendous momentum toward increasing workforce mobility options for federal employees. The act paves the way for the federal government to unlock significant benefits, including greater productivity, resilience, environmental sustainability, and employee inclusion. It creates accountability for achieving these objectives in the form of telework managing officers (TMOs), senior officials responsible for telework policy development and implementation.

Realizing these objectives will require a significant departure from current practice. To date, agencies have focused on increasing telework participation rates through advertising, employee training, and resolution of technological barriers. Meaningful progress toward the act’s other goals-including emergency readiness, energy use, recruitment and retention, performance, and productivity-will require moving past first-generation strategies aimed at increasing telework participation rates and, instead, pursuing integrated mobility strategies explicitly linked to agency business objectives.

TMOs should not view the act as just another administrative burden that requires compliance. As the first TMOs assume their roles, they have a unique opportunity to use workforce mobility-including telework and a broader range of tools and systems to enable productivity anywhere, anytime, and on any device-as a catalyst to create a more flexible, productive, and inspiring federal workplace.

Achieving this vision requires a sober assessment of the current situation, an ambitious, goal-driven strategy linked to agency business objectives, and a new management posture aimed at transforming mindsets and behaviors rather than resolving technological challenges.

For perspectives on these issues, read the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) white paper, “Telework: Achieving Higher Levels of Federal Employee Productivity, Inclusion, and Environmental Sustainability.”

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