In the last five years I have moved from Siberia to San Francisco, to Berkeley, to San Jose, to Phoenix, and now to Minneapolis. Unlike most people, moving so many times almost feels like a privilege to me. My husband and I have been able to explore the “sparkle” of Silicon Valley. We enjoyed Phoenix during the not-so-hot months. And now we are in Minneapolis where every day of summer seems like the 4th of July. (I might not be bragging in January when its -30 degrees. But hey, I’m trying to tell myself that it’s healthy for the soul to endure a Winter Wonderland in the U.S. Midwest.)

There are many reasons why we’ve had to relocate so often. Whether I moved to be closer to the beach, the snow, or family — or due to a tragedy — I’m glad that my personal life did not impact my professional life. Aside from constant packing, unpacking, and doing the legwork of finding housing – I don’t know what I would do if I also had to start and restart the process of finding a job.

I have worked for Cisco a little more than two years now. Throughout my transitions, my responsibilities have changed only slightly. Surprisingly, my productivity and efficiency have increased thanks to my new, liberated perspective of work.

South Long Lake_MN_OK3My job moves with me anywhere I go. As long as I have an internet connection, I can work from my home office, my backyard, a restaurant, a coffee shop, or even on my family’s boat. My laptop and smartphone are the only devices I need to be fully functional.  And Cisco tools such as Jabber, WebEx, and now Spark (a team collaboration solution) allow me to collaborate with my colleagues across continents.

If I need to join an important meeting with executives or managers, I have a DX70 desktop endpoint for better audio and video quality. If I have a meeting with local colleagues, we can use room systems like MX800 or IX5000 in a Cisco office. It has been fun to explore the differences between the Cisco offices in Phoenix, San Jose, and Bloomington, Minnesota. (Hmm, I think next year I should visit the Cisco office in New Zealand.)

My transitions have also given me a better pulse of what “cutting-edge” technology means from state to state. Each city has its own culture of technology. The geeky vibe in San Francisco Bay Area is different than that in Phoenix. (I’m not talking about the correlation between hipster beards and corduroy pants.) There is ton of capital in Phoenix, but the applicable industries have not technologically assimilated enough to embrace many collaboration products.

Minneapolis, on the other hand, is experiencing an economic boom. It seems like cash is burning a hole in twenty-somethings’ pockets. They’re opening start-ups, buying electric cars, and renting swanky new warehouse lofts. Hence, I see it as no coincidence that University of Minnesota is a big client of Cisco Telepresence. Echo boomers are dying to get their hands on modern collaboration technologies.

The ability to work from anywhere is not a very new thing. But while the old-school view of remote work has a “leisurely” connotation, the pressure of global-economic competition is driving companies to reconsider these notions. Companies recognize that freeing employees from time and space restrictions, while improving their tools, can increase productivity and reduce overhead. Without collaboration technologies, keeping up with this paradigm shift would be impossible.

I’ve learned more from working on-the-go, than I think I ever could by sitting still. Perhaps the greatest assets of cutting-edge companies are employees with freedom to drive creativity and innovation in their jobs, while being able to explore the world. In today’s digital era, the way we work and live is constantly changing. And with technology growing at an exponential rate, it is crucial that we stay ahead of the curve.

Learn more about how you can use collaboration technology to support teleworkers and branch offices.


Olesya Karpova

No Longer with Cisco