Organizations today face many challenges when it comes to providing an optimum work environment. How can you turn your office space into a next-generation workplace? The answer is collaboration technology. Collaboration technology enables you to create workspaces that meet the changing needs and preferences of your employees. You can connect the unconnected, improve employee engagement, and address the realities of an increasingly virtual work environment.

In my experience, keeping pace with rapidly changing employee preferences and aligning technology requires organizations to update network infrastructure design. They need to expand employee capability and flexibility while strengthening overall network security. As more devices come online through the Internet of Everything (IoE), the workplace must evolve. And evolve in a way that meets employee needs and encourages collaboration, especially across global teams.

Business Challenges

Our organizations face many challenges when it comes to providing optimal work environments, including:

  • Enhancing employee collaboration within geographically dispersed teams
  • Encouraging more efficient work
  • Minimizing the cost and disruption of deploying new IT hardware and applications
  • Retaining the best employees

As I covered in a previous post, I think it’s important for corporate real estate leaders to work closely with IT. We need to create new work environments that enable people to work in the best way possible – for themselves and their organizations. We need to provide ubiquitous wireless connectivity, pervasive video endpoints, and flexible work policies.

By implementing Cisco-enabled Smart+Connected Spaces, organizations can improve employee productivity and enable a collaborative work environment while personalizing employee workspaces and safeguarding data and information.

Connecting Mobile Employees

A connected mobile experience gives employees access to your network and resources while offering personalization and location-based services.  Recently, I gave a presentation about an application called Cisco Maps and how Cisco is powering the connected mobile experience and providing value for employees and business organizations.

These mobile experience capabilities support excellence in employee collaboration:

  • Navigation: Supports indoor navigation enabled by real-time WiFi
  • Proximity: Provides users with a dynamic view of floor plans and available conference rooms/workspaces
  • Personalization: Defines user favorites, preferences, and space assignment
  • Global View: Makes employee information, time zones, and map views accessible
  • Context Aware: Provides room controls, initiates WebEx and video calls, and supports ISE integration
  • Incident Reporting: Supports remedy integration

Benefits of the New Work Environment

In this new environment, employees could choose any workspace for as long as they needed it, whether less than an hour or all day. Here’s how:

Encouraging Collaboration: Technologies like Cisco WebEx and desktop video endpoints encourage collaboration over distance. When it’s as easy to meet and share content over distance as it is in the same room, the barriers between people become smaller. Instant messaging brings the asynchronous back and forth of e-mail to real-time exchanges and faster decision making.

Reducing Real Estate Costs: By designing spaces without assigned seating, two-thirds of which is vacant at any given time, organizations can comfortably assign more people to a building, reducing real estate costs by up to 37 percent.

Reducing Infrastructure Costs: Wireless environments require less cabling (one of the most expensive infrastructure components) and fewer wall jacks, which cost $200 each. In addition, reducing the number of switch ports frees space for other switch resources, such as blades for security, content serving, or additional infrastructure applications.

Accommodating Different Work Styles: You can design work spaces with a variety of seating options instead standard desks for each employee. This allows employees to select an appropriate environment to accomplish the task at hand, whether meeting in a group, participating in a conference call, or working independently.

The future workplace will create new hubs for collaboration and innovation. By providing a wide variety of spaces for people to use as they wish, you create environments where people are more comfortable, allowing them to be more creative, productive, and innovative – which benefits everyone.


Alan McGinty

Senior Director, Global Workplace Solutions Group

CISCO Workplace Resources