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“Work From Home !” Said the News Today!

Every week, the location in which I work could be different. The daily news reports the national governments and local authorities latest pandemic recommendations which dictate the new schedule of my working day – home or office. The question that has created #NewNormal!

About 4 weeks ago, I was able to experience working from the office for the first time in months. It had been a much-awaited day and much like Tom, it was a day full of uncertainty. Remember Tom? Find out!

I was fortunate enough to be able to split my work day between home and the office, between being a secure remote worker and immersing myself into the trusted workplace.

Let Me Walk You Through What That Day Looked Like

The first priority of the day, like always in a sales role, were my customers and my team… but now in the #NewNormal, I needed to add someone else to the list: “healthy and safe me.” Making sure to protect myself and others, has now shifted to the top!

8:45 am Ready to work! My first hours were spent working at home. I started the day by sending quick messages to my customers, partners and colleagues just to check in after the weekend. During lockdown, I learned the importance of making intentional time to connect with colleagues. Next I scheduled 1:1’s on Webex to formally re-connect and start my week.

9:00am: Starting 1:1 meetings on Webex

In our company culture, meeting face-to-face is important.

It is important to meet with people live either, in person or virtually, in order to successfully solve day-to-day work problems. Managing without considering emotions is an old word – not aligned with our new normal. Meeting face to face over video is useful to reflect 1:1 life, moods, and emotional environments.

young woman on the screen with other colleagues on Webex Meetings

10:30 am Meetings with the team – Time to share energy to the others!

At 10:30 it was time to meet with my team on Webex. Much like the “old school” days when team meetings were in person, these virtual team meetings will respect the same etiquette. Enter the meeting on time, wait in the lobby if the previous meeting is not finished yet, announce yourself, and lock the meeting door when all participants are in.

You can raise your hand and divide the group into several breakout sessions. There are some additional benefits to meeting on Webex. You can mute everyone quickly if someone is typing to loud or if kids are screaming in the background, no more unwanted interruptions!

Also in Webex, you can automatically switch to the best audio like PSTN mobile audio if your Wifi Internet networks are suddenly degraded. If your home “office” background isn’t suitable, you can always use Blur Background or Customized Background. Webex fit all!

Woman on Meeting using customized background

You can easily share your favorite apps or your screen, fully control what the others see, and avoid asking everyone every minute, “do you see my screen ? “Yes, we can! The technology works!

The New Normal Comes with a New Assistant Who Connects On-Demand and Who Actively Listens

My new assistant is Webex Assistant. For my meeting, I can ask Webex Assistant to record a meeting and transcribe it for a future review.

Webex Assistant is especially helpful when working with colleagues who don’t share the same native language. It enables me to support my colleagues better. I’m able to review some of their recorded transcripted meetings, translate in my language, and then advise/coach them accordingly.

man sitting in office chair using Webex Assistant for Meetings

2 pm: Heading to the Cisco office

It was very good experience some weeks ago! I used to know the office like the back of my hand but things were different this time. It started well with automatic doors and badge scans to open zero-touch doors. Hand sanitizer and masks greeted me at the front desk along with digital signage on a Webex Board that showed me where the open seats were.

A screen at a desk nearby displayed” Bonjour Nicolas.” I felt welcome, like at home. I sat at the desk with a Cisco DeskPro which has outstanding visual comfort: no more 8-hour remote work reading small screens with my eyes. The HD sound of my DeskPro with the automatic voice volume adaptation if I’m alone in the area or my Wireless Headset 730 connects automatically to the device. I respect the recommendations and limit the floors’ movement to meet with some other colleagues and use my Webex app instead which allows for social distancing, calling, messaging, bots and integrations with my favorite apps. I’m using a single app: Webex. I’m feeling reassured when I can permanently connect to my team, colleagues, customers, family, friends.

I’m constantly interrupted with chat pop-ups during my task, but I’m now considering small talks critical to maintaining social relations and benevolence among colleagues. Easy to re-connect with others as I can see in one place all documentation’s previous activities (Box, OneDrive, Google, Slack, Sharepoint sites..). I can check the latest processes status (approval, steps) on Jira, check the SFDC accounts or country activities on Tableau directly within Webex. Pretty cool!

4 pm – Solving issues and calm down collective pressure

A last minute issue popped up that we needed to be solved tonight. In a couple of seconds, we were all connected. Depending on the European country work from home policy, some colleagues are coming to their office rooms, others at a distance connecting through Webex.

Fortunately, corporate IT activated the Group Distance Alert Feature on Webex Devices so we didn’t have to worry about being over capacity. I was satisfied that the system had counted people automatically and made a neutral policy decision when the last one has to attend remotely. Easy to explain.

We joined the meeting from a Room Panorama and connected through Webex to another large room where our colleagues appeared miraculously. I didn’t know all of the participants attending and was worried about spelling names wrongs, but thankfully there is were name labels on the screen. Face recognition in Webex looks great.

three diverse women in a Webex Meeting

One of our colleagues was on his sofa and there was somebody else at home with a vacuum cleaner. I reached for the “mute” button but thankfully he had the latest noise detection feature with his Cisco Headset 730. We didn’t hear the vacuum but we heard his voice perfectly .. what progress here!

But back to the subject matter, our escalation meeting went wrong.. thankfully Webex has a whiteboard capability. Here, we avoided further escalation, saved time for everyone and solved the problem in 35 min. “Thanks, Webex White-boarding.”

5:30pm I needed to remain for a couple of minutes to work offline at my desk and focus on the summary and action of the day. I connected to my last meeting on Webex from my car on the road to pick up my kids.

6:30 pm Returning to my HomeDesk

I arrived at home after a last quick call with my manager on the phone. And after a couple of deep breaths, I closed my laptop and told my new normal workday to my wife and kids over dinner.

8:30 pm Just needed to order that book mentioned by my colleagues that morning. I searched the transcript recorded on Webex… There it was. I found it…Copy Paste/Ordered… Done – Job accomplished – Day accomplished

Home or Office?

Hybrid working is definitely a new life, well balanced between freedom and pandemic constraints, well balanced between professional and personal times, well balanced with the five senses of my brain, comfortably seated at my home desk and feeling fully secured by corporate software and IT-tools brought by my company.

But most importantly, the new life should always be connected to human networks, enriched by visual interactions among colleagues and customers, pleased by team collaboration showing good progress on workflows, reaching the ultimate goal of the collective satisfaction of accomplished tasks and inherited good results inside the company.

All feed my emotions positively.

That journey is on Cisco Webex!

I’m convinced: Between positive emotions and collaboration solutions, there is a bridge!

Nicolas Moquereau

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