Part of the Hybrid Work Success series: Rethinking a hierarchy of needs in the context of work — how a global pandemic changed the way we work, forever.

In my last Hybrid work: Revolution or evolution newsroom article, I shared my thoughts about how hybrid work is really a revolution. It’s not incremental. It’s the next normal. Admittedly, how I work now has fundamentally changed. There are days where I am seemingly everywhere at once – working from my home office, then at the office, and finally at the soccer field. All in a single day. Honestly, hybrid work mode seems superhuman at times!

While I’ve always had a knack for pivoting between any of my work environments with relative ease, the pandemic taught me something else altogether. I now have an even greater appreciation for my everyday tools which make my everyday work life… work better.

Over the course of this pandemic, it became apparent to me that our personal technology set-up is critical. For me, three essential tools make hybrid work more manageable and seamless.

Headset: ‘Can you hear me now?’

Working from home requires a bit more thought. If you’re at the office, you’re at the office. No one will think twice about what headset you’re using. But now you’re in your home office, and suddenly expectations shift a little.

You need to be more cognizant about sounding and looking professional because outside of the office, these are the critical visual cues that demonstrate your seriousness about work, at home.

A few things to consider are noise canceling to cancel out the “can you hear me now” syndrome. Long battery life to short circuit “hang on while I switch headsets”. Best design for function and comfort for “wow, the day just flew by.” I go with AfterShokz when I’m on the go. Jabra for noise canceling and quality when high fidelity is critical. And AirPods for comfort, design and style for those times that call for your headset to just recede into the background without sacrificing function. Outfitted with any of these three headsets, I can work anywhere.

Ergonomics Are Your Friend

There are days where I sit at my desk longer than I am in bed. No technology can make up for physical discomfort which inhibits doing your best work. Sitting for 8 hours a day is good for no one. I found that an adjustable height desk, Herman Miller chair, and even something as simple as a mousepad wrist guard, makes an enormous difference. Your desk set up is effectively your work throne, make it yours!

Walk the talk

Work doesn’t stop and sitting stationary in front of a screen all day isn’t ever something my doctor advised. So I thought to myself, I may as well get my steps in while working and benefit my physical and mental well-being. I have a tried-and-true routine. I put on my Saysh running shoes, grab my headset, and turn on my GPS app for my turn-by-turn route to my local café and back. In those precious 30 minutes, I let myself physically explore. I let my mind wander. Whether I am catching up on the latest Cisco Champion Radio Podcast or having a work brainstorming session with a team member – it’s work and it feels great. Back at my desk I’m now properly caffeinated, mentally refreshed, and more creative as a result. In 30 minutes, you can take care of your body, mind and soul.

In truth, we cannot be superhuman all the time at work and at home. However, we can stack the odds in our favor for a fruitful, fulfilling and fun time at work – whereever work is – by taking a few steps to make that time as productive as possible. And the best part? With a little planning, you can do it too while also taking care of yourself.

Read:  Hybrid work: Revolution or evolution



Denise Lee

Vice President

Engineering Sustainability Office