Something I have always loved and admired Cisco for is how they go above and beyond in connecting everything. Yes, we have great food services, a wonderful gym, and both indoor and outdoor spots at our global campuses (when it is safe to be in office, of course.) But it is not just about connecting the products and people here, but also the people to nature.
That is what surprised me the most, when I learned of our community garden in Bangalore – a small piece of land where employees can farm and grow fruits and vegetables.
It is where we, as team members can come with a focus on learning and growing together. We can pick daily yields like green chilies, before moving on to weeding and watering the plants. And what of pesticides? Well, Cisco is making an organic pesticide from the cafeteria’s solid waste so that we can have some organic veggies!
This is an activity with two kinds of results – a direct result which is the yields from the garden, and the indirect result of the experience we have because of our garden. I would love to share more about our experience with you and how our garden truly benefits our team.
1. Team collaboration: Each year, teams look for ways to bond through events, trainings, and experiences. I would say our garden has been one of our best team bonding activities. We see results every day and realize that we must put in the work – together – to take care of our plants. Every crop is different – some need more time to grow, others may be distracted by bugs, some may spread out while others go deep into the earth – these are things we have learned over time as we account for each plant and their needs. This translates to our team as well.
2. Relaxing with nature: Green, is the color of nature and it helps in comforting and refreshing the mind. It’s why many experts suggest looking out the windows often throughout the workday to have a moment of relaxation. Now think about how much physically going outside may reduce your stress. I know that by going out into nature as a team for those 10 – 15 minutes every day, we come back better rested and ready to tackle our afternoon with a clearer mind.
3. Share like friends: This community garden gave us a chance to expand our habit of sharing our crop yields with one another. We have gotten to try and learn new things, while bonding not just as a team – but as friends. It makes me proud to know that Cisco supports initiatives that work to make our lives more well-rounded and empowers us to make our friendships and teams stronger.
4. Work-Life Balance: At Cisco, we’re encouraged to bring our whole selves to the office – to really ‘be you, with us’ – and I’ve found our little garden even helps here as we bring stories back to our families of the great things that happened in the garden that day. We were also able to bring the family to the garden over the weekend so that they could see our efforts and help us to maintain the plants. This always gives me the biggest smile to see all the families working together as well.
It is wonderful to see one of the oldest professions (farming) blending so beautifully with one of the newest professions in tech. It is truly a gift that Cisco inspires us to connect everything in our lives to work towards a better world.
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