Cisco employees would like to welcome those of you just joining the ranks of the “work from anywhere” club and say “where ya been?” I guess we take for granted when we work for a company that walks the talk while making the products that allow and encourage such freedom.

You’ve seen lots of posts about tips to work from home (some from our very own Cisco leadership), but we wanted to give you the employee 411. Things we’ve learned, ways we get creative and more.

Let me begin with a few of mine:

Tip #1 – the “Meeting Mullet.” Like any good mullet, it’s business on top, party on the bottom. Make sure you are rocking the confident top, the Cisco t-shirt of choice, your best horned-rimmed computer glasses, the necklace that you love – whatever makes you feel like your best you. Then – and oh, this may be the best part about working remotely – find your most comfy pair of sweatpants. You know, the ones you wear when you want to eat your weight in pizza. Are your feet cold? Those “the snuggle is real” fluffy pink slippers are at your disposal. If it’s not part of the video screen, it’s fair game. Especially for those with kids at home – you may not have time for the full “get ready for work.”

A GIF of the Talent Brand Team doing the Thriller Dance in Halloween costumes.

Tip #2 – you need to work a little harder at the “watercooler” bonding. The team I work for is global, and we’re used to the virtual life. But we are a strongly bonded team. Sometimes, you just need to all hop on Webex with no agenda except to have a little fun. For example, for Halloween last year, we had a little costume party. Then, because goofiness builds comradery, I taught our team 16 bars of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance. We had our zombie hands a’ rockin’ let me tell you. Oh! I don’t have to tell you, because we have proof!

Tip #3 – Don’t stop, believin’ – in celebrations that is! Look, life happens. Even in the worst of times, there are still the best of times. Babies are born. Engagements occur. New fur kids join the team. It’s still important to be a team and find joy together. Our team has had virtual baby showers, we’ve attended a wedding of a colleague via Webex and more. In times of high stress, we need to make extra effort to celebrate the human moments.

My team is the team behind the @WeAreCisco social media accounts, and we’ve seen some really cool examples of employees sharing how they are getting creative. Here are a few of our favorites.

Krithi M., a recruiter in Bangalore, has surrounded her computer with plants. Her “green co-workers” keep her motivated and bring her joy, reminding her that there is beauty in the world.

A laptop sits on a desk outside surrounded by flowers and plants.

Anna G., who works with Cisco’s Webex technology team in Norway, was part of a “Webex Yoga” session with about 200 of her co-workers.

Anna participates in a virutal yoga session via Webex.

Rolly L., who leads a team of systems engineers in the U.S. has a Webex Teams space with fellow employees who are Peloton riders. “We basically all ride at the same time live and filter down to our friends. There is also a video/camera functionality where people can see if each other if “that’s how you ride.” (See what I did there?)

Rolly rides his Peloton with co-workers.

When you can’t be in person for a team happy hour, you grab a glass, fill it with your favorite beverage, and give a virtual “Slainte!” on Webex with your team (this was especially the case with everyone remote for St. Patrick’s Day!)

The “Cisco Disco” was already a virtual Friday standard for our HRUP (HR Undergraduate Program) cohorts, because, who doesn’t like to dance on a Friday? (Kudos to HRUP Erin J. for making it cool to dance at work.) It then extended to any other employees who wanted to join, and it grew. The Cisco Disco continues on, because in the words of Gwen Stefani, “I’m gonna keep on dancing.”

And lots of teams are now inviting kids, pets and even parents to meetings. My team got together on Webex to make them all “honorary” employees with hand-made badges.

Employees; let’s hear more stories in the comments below about how your teams are bringing Cisco’s culture to the new world of work.


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Carmen Shirkey Collins

Social Media Manager

Talent Brand and Enablement Team, HR