Wednesday 20th March 2013, 06:30. Eight months into my new graduate job and the familiar, inevitable sound of my morning alarm starts to ring. Being the middle of the week, work is in full flow and it looks like I’ve got a busy day ahead but you know what? I’ve still got time. I click the snooze button and savor those extra ten minutes before getting up and starting my morning routine. So, what’s on for the day?

To do list:

  • 08:30 – Quick update from the team in Japan on upcoming Cisco Connect events.
  • 11:00 – Sync up with the Amsterdam office on promoting IT to young people.
  • 12:00 – One to one check-in with my manager.
  • 14:00 – Get my car to an MOT test appointment (safety first!).
  • 18:00 – Meet with the team in San Jose to discuss IT growth within the events space.

Wednesday also means gym day…

I think I had better start the day with a coffee!

08:00. I arrive at my desk in the Bedfont Lakes office, coffee in hand, ready for my first meeting with Japan. Half an hour later, I jump into a meeting room and start the meeting using Cisco’s very own WebEx Conferencing solution via a Cisco IP desk phone (I use a softphone when I’m in my home office). In my opinion, whilst many meetings are incredibly effective when held face-to-face, when you work for a global company where employees are in many different time zones and locations, sometimes it just has to be virtual. As I flick the video switch to on, I find myself nine hours into the future, sitting down with a colleague. We get down to business and there’s no denying it, we are face-to-face and this makes a huge difference when communicating; especially when it comes to understanding one another. There was no travel time involved (apart from that 20 second connection) and no costly travel fares. Economical. Environmentally-friendly. Easy.

09:00 (and fully updated). Next meeting in two hours. Seems like a good time to go to the gym. The beauty of working for a company like Cisco, that enables flexible working and several collaboration options, is that I can mold my day around my work, meetings and personal activities to make sure I get everything done at work without sacrificing my personal goals.

An hour later I’m back at my desk to finish off some action items I set earlier in the week. Before I know it, it’s time for my next meeting. This time, it’s in the Amsterdam office. I collect my things and travel over to one of our designated TelePresence (TP) rooms. TP has to be one of my favorite collaboration enabling technologies.  Video on my laptop is great, but compared to TP I know which I’d choose. TP takes in-person interaction to the next level; Cisco makes it so easy to use and TP rooms are so readily available that I take advantage of it as much as possible!  The experience really is as good as meeting someone face-to-face; I can see and hear everything as if I’m right there in the room with them. This incredible experience not only allows me to hold and be part of productive meetings, but provides the perfect environment to build and foster the types of relationships that make collaboration much more effective.

With our productivity levels off the charts, the meeting finishes with 10 minutes to spare. I get back to my desk, to find a voicemail from the MOT garage stating that my appointment had to be moved forward to 12:30 (the last available slot for the rest of the week). My MOT is expiring by the end of the week so another week’s wait isn’t an option, but I can’t miss the update with my manager as I need to run some things by her which can’t really be done via email. Three seconds later, Cisco’s collaboration tools allowed me to do both.

I jump in my car at 11:55 and use the WebEx app on my iPhone to dial into the meeting with my manager. As I’m making the 25 minute journey to the MOT test center, I’m updating my manager on all the progress I’ve made and the next steps I’ve planned to take. The meeting finishes right on schedule. I hang up, hand the keys over to the mechanic and walk down the street to grab some lunch. Using MobileMail on my iPhone, I’m able to keep up to date with work while eating lunch and waiting for my car. After that, I head back home to continue my working day feeling confident that I can accomplish my goals and meet my deadlines.

In between working through my action items for the rest of the day, I caught up with my team in San Jose using video (of course) and the built-in softphone on WebEx Connect, before working my way to the fridge for a quick bite to eat and wrapping up the day. Working from home is an invaluable asset for those who are part of a global company. It gives us the flexibility to enhance work/life integration whilst also allowing us to negotiate those unavoidable constraints imposed by time zones. Next week I’ve got a meeting with a few employees based in Australia. As much as I love the Cisco office here in the UK, a 22:00 meeting is definitely one for the home office.

So that was my day. I hit four countries, made all my meetings – each one productive, finished off my action items, got my car a new MOT certificate and went to the gym. All thanks to Cisco’s culture and collaboration tools which allow me to achieve the perfect work/life integration.

Where did your job take you today?