For many of us, the process of getting to and from work can create frustration that resonates all day long. Do the following daily obstacles sound familiar to you?
- 6:15 a.m.: Wake up, feed dog, make coffee, shower, make up, style hair, dress for the office
- 7:30 a.m.: Drive, sit in traffic, stop by Starbucks, wait in line
- 9:30 a.m.: Arrive to office late but finally at my desk, answer e-mails
- 10 a.m.: First conference call of the day via WebEx
- 1 p.m.: Lunch time! Discover someone has stolen my RedBull from community refrigerator. Must escape building after someone microwaves left-over fish dinner and the odor crawls through the entire second floor
- 2 p.m.: Back to work, can’t focus well with distracting noise of nearby printer
- 3 p.m.: Territorial cubicle neighbor creates drama about missing sticky notes
- 4 p.m.: Back pain and headache kick in, start looking at the clock and dreaming of Hawaii
A friend and I were recently talking about the challenges of going to the office every day. She said, “I’m pretty much ready to work right when I roll out of bed; after a few sips of coffee, of course.”
For her, those first few morning hours are her most creative moments of the day. When she gets a good start in the morning, the momentum carries through her day. But her commute and the office environment often bring obstacles and distractions. She wondered if it was possible to work remotely and stay completely connected?
For me, the answer is “yes.” Let me share my experience.
As I sit here writing this at my back yard picnic table, I am proud to admit I am wearing my pajama pants. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and my little Paco is ravenously gnawing on a toy because he is excited I’m home. Oh, did I mention that my refrigerator is only 10 steps away?
About a year ago I began my journey of working remotely as a marketing specialist for Cisco Systems. I work from home at
least three times per week. Aside from unique tasks that demand I go to an office or a specific location, I can do my work remotely. Instead of going to work, work comes to me. I can chat, hold face-to-face meetings over video to review team projects, attend events and trainings online. All thanks to Cisco collaboration tools like Jabber, WebEx, Collaboration Meeting Rooms, and Cisco Spark. Whether I’m on my laptop, tablet, or smartphone, I can flip between applications and simultaneously collaborate with my co-workers around the world. Magic!
The increasing integration of collaboration technologies into modern flexible business models is changing the workforce and redefining the traditional 9-to-5 cubicle work-week. Many businesses using this model are not only saving money, but also seeing revenue growth. For example:
- According to IBSG Horizon Report, employees who telecommute once a week save Cisco $2,500 per employee annually.
- In an IDC analysis of 812 small and medium-sized firms in a range of industries, those that allowed employees to work remotely at least three times a month were more likely to log revenue growth of at least 10% within the last 12 months, compared with firms without such policies.
And, like me, employees with more flexible work options can enjoy a more harmonious balance between their professional and personal lives. It’s fascinating to think about how much more the global workforce could achieve if more people worked remotely using collaboration technologies.
For instance, according to a survey conducted by Iposo, 65% of companies say that telecommuters are more productive because the flexibility allows them to work when they have the most focus, or because having maximum control over their work environment and schedule leads to job satisfaction and happiness.
You’ve heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child,” right? I think it takes a virtual village to kindle innovation and influence world trends. Yes, this revolutionary assimilation will take time. But the precious amount of time created and energy saved by these technologies is undeniable.
In the age of instantaneous communication, the Internet of Everything, and infinite computer memory; the mere task of tying my shoes is annoying. And while many daily tasks are avoidable, many are not. Hence, it’s important to help employees manage their efforts more efficiently.
So, as a teleworker, what would be my advice to employers who haven’t created remote work options yet and want to raise productivity? No one knows the best environment for an employee’s productivity better than the employee.
- Let your employees work from home or provide flexible workspaces.
- In the office, allow them to build their own supercharged spaces or provide different types of work areas throughout the office.
- And wherever they are, empower them with Cisco Collaboration technologies, and let them create, produce, innovate.