When the pandemic hit, the shift to remote work happened almost overnight. But it was just the beginning of a journey toward hybrid work that is transforming work as we know it. It’s a change that, I believe, will have profound implications for human society.

That’s because hybrid work is a revolutionary force that converges people, technology, and places. And it can positively impact everything from work-life balance and organizational agility to sustainability and global opportunity.

So, it’s critical that we get it right.

That means continuing to transform our technology, to further dissolve the barriers of geography, language, and socioeconomics. But as important as technology is, it’s only part of the story. Transforming our work cultures and workspaces will be equally important. To the point where work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do, from anywhere.

Joining this revolution isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. As the Great Resignation has underscored, a lack of flexibility in how and where we work is a key frustration. But the Great Resignation is also a great opportunity, for organizations to transform in deep ways. Because there’s no going back to the rigid models and workplace hierarchies of the past.

The customers I speak with around the world welcome this transformation. They are shifting from planning to action, because they know that their businesses depend on creating great work experiences. But as we all continue the hybrid work journey, we’ll need to define success, identify pitfalls, and share best practices. That’s why I’m so excited about some recent and future thought leadership that Cisco is helping to drive.

Hybrid Work Maturity Model

The Hybrid Work Maturity Model will assist organizations in assessing where they are in their hybrid work journeys, and what they need to do to achieve their goals. A joint research effort between Cisco and IDC, it will present an actionable framework from which to gauge progress.

“Over the course of the pandemic, business and IT leaders have seen the challenges of adapting quickly to remote work,” she told us. “But they understand that moving forward, creating a great hybrid work experience will be critical. That’s why we are collaborating with Cisco on the Hybrid Work Maturity Model. It will enable leaders to assess where they currently stand in their hybrid work journeys and to create successful strategies to continuously improve.”
—Amy Loomis, Research Director, Future of Work at IDC

Today, organizations are looking for guidance as they shape hybrid work for their teams. They want to know where they stand in their own hybrid work journeys; what benefits and outcomes the more mature organizations are experiencing; and what challenges remain for those that are lagging. This research aims to answer such questions by quantifying and validating key data points on how companies in different stages of hybrid-work maturity operate.

The Cisco/IDC study will rely on survey results from thousands of organizations of all sizes and from multiple industries around the globe. And it will examine the spectrum of hybrid work maturity across stages, starting with organizations that have not yet started their journeys, to those who have begun to implement and learn, to those who have truly embraced a hybrid work model and through their leadership are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in this new way of working.

Last week at Cisco Partner Summit, we announced the study and encouraged our partners, customers, and prospective customers to participate in the survey. We’ll begin to share key findings at the Cisco Live! EMEAR event in February.

Global Hybrid Work Index

We began our own journey to examine Hybrid Work trends in another study, Cisco’s recently released Global Hybrid Work Index. It has identified emerging work trends, while showing how organizations can unleash creativity and innovation, and improve the well-being of their workers.

To gain these insights, Cisco drew on its core platforms, with millions of anonymized customer data points from collaboration (Webex), networking (Meraki), internet visibility (ThousandEyes), and security (Talos, Duo, Umbrella). These were combined with third-party research from double-blind surveys of more than 39,000 respondents across 34 countries, including CIOs, IT decision makers, and employees. Cisco’s own workforce data rounded out a far-reaching study.

One key finding? Many organizations are not giving their employees enough flexibility, which is a key characteristic of success in hybrid work. Sixty-four percent of workers believe that this lack of flexibility in hybrid-work will affect their decision to leave or stay with a job. Yet only 47 percent expect their companies will grant them the freedom to work from anywhere they choose over the next 6-12 months.

And despite the importance of hybrid work for future success — and the evolving role of IT in many organizations — almost half of IT decision makers still prioritize operational efficiency over employee experience or business outcomes.

It’s exciting to see the progress we’ve made in such a short time. But as this data shows, many companies have a long way to go before fully reaping the great benefits of hybrid work. So, having a clear idea of where we are — and what we can accomplish in the future — will be an essential part of the puzzle.

I look forward to sharing more of our research in the coming months. In the meantime, I invite you to participate in the Hybrid Work Maturity study. The more we learn, the sooner we can all enjoy the great benefits of hybrid work.

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Jeetu Patel

EVP and General Manager, Security & Collaboration

Security & Collaboration