I’ve lived in Atlanta proper most of my life yet over the course of my Cisco career, all 20 years of it, I’ve worked remotely from home in a financial services industry role covering a broad geography. Cisco always had an Atlanta office, multiple in fact, and while Atlanta’s traffic is notorious it had nothing (ok… almost nothing) to do with continuing happily as a remote employee.

With the world rapidly moving to a hybrid work environment over the last few years, more and more people are enjoying the flexibility of this new work style. As buildings reopen, that’s partially why employees aren’t flocking to them. Despite employers encouraging employees to come back to the office, many professionals aren’t in a rush to come back to the exact same buildings they left three years ago.

According KPMG’s 2022 U.S. Banking CEO outlook published in October, CEOs envision the working environment for traditional office jobs in the next three years to be 69% fully in-office with another 24% hybrid. That’s 93% of employees stepping foot in the office on a weekly basis.

The office needs to be a magnet not a mandate
– Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO

True to our CEO’s words, we are updating key Cisco locations across the world to be exactly that. And I am lucky as Atlanta is one of our first locations to get a major upgrade to a Cisco Experience Center (CXCs). As a native Atlantan, I am not only proud to see Cisco represented in the heart of Atlanta but also in close proximity of my alma mater Georgia Tech and the many fine surrounding universities. Our new office is designed for today’s hybrid workforce, creating not only a magnet for current employees like me, but also a showcase that will attract new talent to Cisco.

Cisco’s presence among midtown Atlanta’s technology community is even more inspiring from my perspective as the global lead for financial services. Many people might be surprised to know that, for decades, the city has been a leading hub for financial services and technologies. By some estimates more than two-thirds of financial transactions across the world pass through Atlanta. In fact, Georgia-based companies process over 188 billion transactions per year, which is over $2 trillion. It has earned the nickname “transaction alley.”

Georgia is home to hundreds of companies, many located in the greater Atlanta area, involved in payments and financial technology. In the payments industry six of the ten U.S. payment processors are headquartered in Georgia and there are 42,000 payments employees located here. Today the top 50 Georgia-based FinTechs generate more than $72 billion. It’s not surprising therefore to hear other nicknames for Atlanta, like “FinTech Capital of the World.”

Atlanta FinTech Company logos, organized by services offered

As you can see Atlanta and Georgia are important to the financial services industry. When our new office opens to external visitors in April 2023, I look forward to spending time there each week, meeting and collaborating in-person with new and old colleagues and engaging with financial services clients to discuss and demonstrate how reimagined offices can become a magnet for employees.

The aforementioned KPMG study is telling in this regard for the banking industry. The return to in-office is nearly double the average in banking versus other white-collar industries. We’ve heard from Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and David Solomon of Goldman Sachs about their desire for employees to be in the office. Other financial institutions are similar – like USAA who recently informed employees living within 60-miles of their San Antonio, Texas headquarters of the expectation to be in the office three days a week. Much like these financial institutions, that schedule feels about right to me even as I’m just starting my journey back to an office after 20 years.

Banks' in-office future: Almost 70% of bank CEO's expect fully in-office workforces within 3 years, significantly more than other white-collar industries

Cisco welcomes financial services institutions to visit our Atlanta office, our flagship Penn 1 Plaza in New York City, our corporate campus in San Jose or any CXC around the U.S. and the world to experience first-hand our perspective of the new hybrid workplace. We encourage our customers to come in-person and experience our technology and solutions. That’s exactly the purpose of these locations – to see how our expertise and experience as a provider of hybrid work capabilities translates into our own investments in people and places – and to discuss how they fit into your institution’s strategy as well.

In these new office environments, you will see the three key areas for hybrid work deployed:

  1. Empowering your people – Solutions that enhance your team’s flexibility, improve productivity, and expand innovation.
  2. Transforming your workspaces – Smarter workspaces that connect people in new ways help to support their health and well-being.
  3. Improving your technology – Cisco collaboration, security, and networking products

If you are looking to making your offices more engaging and efficient reach out your Cisco Account Manager or Cisco Partner to arrange a visit to see it action. In the meantime you can take virtual tours of Webex Workspaces or the New York City office, Penn 1 Plaza.


Al Slamecka

Global Financial Services BDM

Cisco Industry Solutions Group