For years, solutions to unite teams and simplify collaboration were defined by brands throwing the proverbial technology kitchen sink at their employees. From there, it was up to these teams to stumble and fumble their way to make these various tools work in whatever ways made sense for their job, setting up a perfect storm of incompatible connections, IT woes and communication delays. And while this may have been ok to “get by,” something better for a new world of work – one that calls for more nimble responses from dispersed teams that want to connect and interact in real time – was needed.
Thankfully, that something better has arrived.
Can we all agree that one of the best benefits of working remotely is skipping the morning traffic jam, powering up your laptop, and jumping on a Webex from the comfort of your own home? And for businesses, the perks of collaboration technology are clear – including increased productivity for global teams. As we continue to re-think how remote teams are shaping the future of work, one other benefit that can’t be ignored is the positive impact remote workers have on the environment.
Google “work playlist” and you’re rewarded with more than 161 million results. That’s a lot of searches for the perfect workday soundtrack. Though famously touted for its assumed capabilities to “soothe the savage beast,” searches like this show that many people are looking for that perfect play list to be more productive during the workday.
Streaming music service Spotify reported that 61 percent of people who working in offices listen to music while they are working. Whether you need an upbeat rhythm to plow through a slew of emails or a more laid-back track to think through a client strategy, tuning in to the right music mix can do more than help the workday go by faster. Listening to music as part of a workday is shown to not only boost productivity, but also make listeners happier.
Consider the following when making decisions between Beyoncé, Beck, Bach, or Bruno Mars:
- After reaching out to more than 1,000 small- and medium-business owners, Music Works found that 77 percent of them said music increases staff morale.
- Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic said it only takes a scant 15 minutes to half-hour of listening to music to regain concentration.
- The Journal of Music Therapy reported that listening to your favorite music calms you and lowers perception of tension.
What songs are on your playlist get you prepped for the workday? From the Beastie Boys to Van Halen, my “Collab and Roll” Spotify playlist is just the right mix for me to get pumped for my next WebEx meeting or collaboration session. Now – we want to hear from you. Tweet us and share your favorite work playlist instrumentals and songs with the WebEx community, using #MyWebExMusicMix.
Whether you dread them or delight in them, meetings are a part of everyday work life. And while unproductive ones can be seen, at the least, as an annoyance, the cost of meetings like this can be astronomical; as in costing companies more than $37 billion annually.
Technology can be the great differentiator between dynamic and mutually rewarding meeting experiences and unfruitful gatherings where ideas become stuck and conversation stalls. Do you know what tech your meetings are missing that could be slowing down progress? Take a look below and see how WebEx tools can help fill in missing meeting pieces.
The “Gather ‘Round the Conference Call” Meeting
Meeting attendees hunkered around a conference speakerphone, jockeying for space and hoping their input is heard.
WebEx conferencing that fosters face-to-face connections with remote team members, which in turn, promotes better idea sharing.
An interactive meeting where everyone is seen, feels engaged and has a voice.
The “Can Everyone See This?” Meeting
A meeting attendee, only partially facing their audience, sketching out a potentially ground-breaking idea, as others struggle to see it.
Interactive WebEx “white boarding” that allows teams to share and collaborate in real-time with key visuals.
An engaging visual representation of possibilities, plans and progress discussed during the meeting.
The “We’re Sorry – Your Password is Incorrect.” Meeting
The irritation of remembering (and entering) complicated passwords when trying to join a video meeting or conference call.
The ease and simplicity of connecting to a meeting with the touch of a button.
Remote team members who can join the discussion quickly, no matter where they are, on the device of their choice.
What technology is missing from your meetings that would empower your teams to achieve more? Have a more detailed look – and explore other WebEx tools that lay the foundation for easier and more reliable meetings – with a free WebEx trial.
If my alma mater Villanova is a testament to anything, it is my love of college basketball. So naturally, when March rolls around, I’m completely psyched to be in front of the TV watching elite teams – and a few Cinderella contenders – battle it out on the court. However, as much as I love on-court action, if I’m not careful with my time, something I like to call “meeting madness” can take hold.
Thankfully, I’m pretty savvy at using WebEx tools to coordinate priorities so I can still cheer on my team and accomplish my work goals. Here are a few WebEx playbook strategies you can use as a guide to do the same.
First Quarter – Put Together a Team
Whether you’re in pursuit of an on-court victory or a business win, the right team mix makes all of the difference.
When colleges scout new players, they visit a vast amount of schools to discover talent that aligns with their team’s needs. When the time comes to recruit new talent for your work team, use WebEx’s videoconferencing tools to connect with remote work candidates around the world with an abundance of diverse backgrounds that enrich your team. All without the hassles of travel.
Second Quarter – Have a Game Plan
In basketball, you don’t make it to the championship without a game plan. And for a successful meeting to happen, everyone must be able to share in the game plan for whatever wins you’re after.
WebEx’s screen sharing provides everyone on your team an opportunity to share resources and keep up with what’s going on, all in real-time. Which is especially important if any parts of your game plan changes and there’s no time to chase down files, for example. The white-boarding feature is also definitely handy for sketching out big plays or ideas as well.
Third Quarter – Gain Speed and Agility
When projects are on strict deadlines or when team members are working outside of the office, WebEx provides the competitive and flexible work options.
If you need to hit the ground running with a brainstorm or when need to bring everyone together for a must-attend meeting, the WebEx WebApp instantly allows access to a video conference via web browser no matter where you are, giving your team some maneuverability to aim for success before that final business buzzer hits.
Fourth Quarter – Workin’ the Court
Now that you know a bit more about the mobile meeting tools available to you, it’s up to you and your team to execute and get in the game and strategically use them to foster growth and engagement for your business.
So how do you use technology to balance out work obligations and your personal time? Share what works for you, with the hashtag #DefeatMeetingMadness.
This post was contributed by Patty Medberry, Senior Manager, Collaboration Solutions Marketing at Cisco Systems
International Women’s Day (IWD) is nothing short of a global movement. As a woman working in technology, I’m proud to work for a company that values the contributions, perspectives and leadership capabilities that women bring to our industry and one that listens to and understands the importance of diverse voices.
As part of Cisco’s IWD celebration this year, employees around the world participated in a video series discussing all things diversity, including gender parity and women empowerment. They shared their thoughts and sentiments through Cisco WebEx, which Cisco is broadcasting to the world for the next 24 hours using Facebook Live. Check it out here
I love seeing the broadcast. In it, my fellow employees selected questions from an assortment presented to them. It is interesting to see that while their questions may have been the same, their answers were very different. None is right, none is wrong. They are simply reflections based on individual experiences and influences that show our great diversity.
I’ve always been an advocate for using technology for collaboration. And this IWD project is even more meaningful because it uses technology as a way not just to share ideas and work together but also to promote and advocate for a worthy cause and unite us in all of our diverse thoughts. The integration of WebEx with Facebook Live allows us to expand our reach for IWD beyond just people within Cisco to potentially millions beyond our corporate walls.
For Cisco, International Women’s Day centers on celebrating the progress of women and their impact on society. And just as we tapped into technology to promote and advocate for this great cause, you can use it to work toward a positive business impact. So maximize the technology you have on-hand to connect with others today to realize the results you want for tomorrow.
How do you use technology to foster collaboration and diversity or to rally a cause? Comment and share with us here.
From music players and computers to televisions and data storage, technology trends are constantly evolving. And since this also includes the technology we use to collaborate, this means meetings have evolved as well.
From the traditional “gather round the conference room table” events from the 1960s to the collaborative work spaces of today, join us for a fun “wow, remember when?” trip down business memory lane as we look back at the way we use to meet and the new tech-driven ways we collaborate today.
Check out the infographic below, then get started with better collaboration for free.
In business, disjointed team collaboration tools set the stage for meeting frustration, less productivity and potentially negative bottom-line impact. But introducing better collaboration tools can reverse these trends, leading to richer collaboration experiences for brands who want to move business forward.
So how does a company do this? Say hello to integrated collaboration.
Follow along as we meet teams from “Disjointed Enterprises” and “Continuous Collaborators, Inc.” and see what happens when one keeps with the meeting status quo – and the other embraces a “collaboration for all” mantra. Then explore how to bring teamwork to your team with a free trial of Cisco WebEx.
Guest post by Janine Kurnoff, founder of The Presentation Company.
As of January of this year, there are an estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses just in the United States alone. This is an impressive stat, given recent discussions on women in the workplace, our roles and how we support one another. In light of this and being a member of this “girl power” collective of business owners, I wanted to share my story to perhaps inspire another woman who has a desire to fearlessly pursue her business dreams.
From Flying Solo to Soaring Together…
I’ve always had a passion and a knack for helping people tell their stories, which led me to form The Presentation Company in 2001. When I joined the ranks of millions of women entrepreneurs, I was a one-woman show focused on presentation consulting. But even then, I knew flying solo would only get me so far. Thankfully, six months in, my sister (and now business partner) Lee joined me, bringing her amazing market research and branding skills with her. And we haven’t looked back since.
People tend to be a bit amazed that Lee and I are not only sisters, but successful female entrepreneurs who make things work at work. And though we like to joke that we’re “twins” and have been known to tap into a telepathic “sister” thing, the reality is that finding a partner who shares your passion, is trustworthy, has your back and one who can represent you is the foundation of a successful brand. We have and never will get bogged down with stereotypes about women not being able to work together. Rather, we believe women can soar with another entrepreneur whose goals are as lofty as their own.
Cheerleaders Aren’t Just for a Big Game…
There is something to be said about having a team of “cheerleaders” in your corner. For me, those cheerleaders were my mom and dad.
Our parents immigrated from England, with two young girls in tow, arriving in 1978 at San Francisco’s Pier 35. I often think about what a risk it was for them to leave the familiar to go after their American dreams. Early on, my dad told me “find your passion and the money will follow.” And my mom always encouraged me to believe that I deserved to “have a seat at the table.” Together Lee and I found that passion and confidence. It came in the form of helping talented people tell authentic business stories.
We embraced, honed and followed this vision and our parents were our earliest – and most enthusiastic – cheering force. And their belief in us pushed our belief in ourselves.
Whoever encourages their dreams in the face of the seemingly impossible – these are the people I advise women to surround themselves with to help keep their entrepreneurial fires burning.
Because Mentorship Matters…
As business founders, Lee and I both feel honored to be in our roles. We take pride in empowering the talented women (and men!) on our team. Why? Because the same passion for our work and desire to help brands tell their most authentic stories in the most meaningful way – we see that in them. We’ve witnessed team members blossom before us as we pour into them, growing confident enough to own rooms and command audiences. It’s in these small ways that we mentor and influence other women.
And that doesn’t stop, no matter what professional heights you reach. In many ways, my sister is my mentor; indirectly, we’ve done that for each other. And we are constantly learning from the host of compelling women we meet. For a woman to surround herself with other powerfully productive women in the workplace, it’s empowering and encouraging.
As women, we must believe that we have every right to succeed and not downplay, our talents, abilities and accomplishments. We have to communicate who we are and define our own paths with a clear vision. And because I have daughters, I believe we have to share our stories and show other women and young girls not to “fake it until they make it.” But rather, “fake it until they become it” as Amy Cuddy says. Because they, and all of us, deserve seats at the professional tables of their choice.
From iced-over bridges to snow-covered highways, Old Man Winter has had a firm grip on most of the country recently. And while that may mean a snow day for some, for many, the work day must go on.
Thankfully, remote work tools like WebEx and Cisco Spark are available to keep teams connected and work moving forward. And even though snow is a rarity in San Jose, over the years, I’ve learned lots of work life “weatherproofing” tips that keep productivity up when inclement weather keeps you away from the office.
Morning Consistency is Key
It’s totally understandable how blustery weather would make you want to stay bundled up in your PJs or work from your laptop in bed. But if you’re working remotely due to the weather, keeping to your morning routine as much as possible can mentally set the stage for a more productive work day.
If you normally exercise outside in the mornings, but can’t, do a quick workout in your living room to maintain your normal pre-work routine. Go to your closet and get dressed, even if you’re just going down the hallway to your home office. Whatever it is that you do to kick off your work day, do it! It will kick start your mind into work mode.
Keep Your Desk Ready-to-Go
Speaking of your home office, the moment you hear bad weather may keep you housebound is the time to ensure your work space is work ready. National Clean Up Your Desk Day was great inspiration for me to take a few moments to declutter my home office space. Everything is now in its place, which saves me a rush cleaning job when impromptu WebEx meetings have to happen. An added bonus? Studies show that a decluttered workspace leads to more productivity.
Check Your Tech
One minute before a remote meeting or conference call begins is not the time to discover your technology has gone on the fritz. If weather is keeping you housebound, you’ll need to rely on your tech tools to stay connected, so make it a habit to ensure any and all technology software and hardware you use is online and ready to go when you need it.
Plan B & C & D Location
If bad weather knocks your power or causes internet connectivity issues for example, having a nearby location to work from is a must.
A nearby coffee shop or even a library are just a couple of options. Wifi is often free and nothing beats a hot cup of coffee if you’re forced to travel to another location.
Set Expectations and Boundaries
You know when you’re working from home that you’re actually working. But does everyone else?
When bad weather keeps people who do not work remotely inside, it’s easy to see how they may not understand how you could be carrying on your work day as normal. If you have children, they’re probably home with you if the weather is bad and may not understand that yes – you have real work to do. In these instances, set boundaries and expectations early so everyone understands that even though you’re physically at home, you have to remain focused.
There is definitely something to be said about maintaining a work-life balance, so be open and communicate to your children or friends when you can chit-chat, play games or watch a movie with them.
Has bad weather kept you in the house recently? Share how you’ve been able to stay in work mode with me on Twitter @WebEx, with #WinterWork.
Being knee-deep into the holiday season means another banner year for WebEx is in the books and coming to a close, folks! There is no time like the present to reflect on how we spent the year helping you to keep business moving forward, uniting your global teams and even earning an accolade or two in the midst of it all.
Before we break out in “Auld Lang Syne,” here’s a look back at some of the best WebEx moments from 2017.
Take Two Minutes with Us
Our “Two Minute Take” video series gave everyone an all-access pass behind the scenes as Cisco team members got candid on their busy work lives and how the dynamic duo of WebEx Meeting Center and Cisco Spark help them balance their time, meetings and more.
From keeping project manager Ally on task and in touch with her remote team to helping inside sales manager James stay in-the-know when he’s on the go or halfway around the world doing charity work, the series provided an insider’s guide at staying productive while living your “real” real life.
Upgrade Your Remote Business with Influencive
Though brick and mortar offices still exist, the business landscape is taking on a more digital look as more entrepreneurs tap technology to establish and grow their brands. That made 2017 the perfect time for Cisco WebEx to form a ground-breaking partnership with Influencive and its founder, entrepreneurial rock-star expert Brian D. Evans.
Through the partnership, Brian and his team shared their tried-and-true insight into the unique challenges of conducting business for social entrepreneurs and elevating these tech-based businesses to new heights.
Get Smart with Impactful Webinars
This year, we were ecstatic to connect the WebEx community with some of the industry’s most impactful and innovative thinkers on all things digital, data and business growth with our webinar series.
- The Presentation Company’s Janine Kurnoff shared best practices on using data visualization to tell more compelling stories.
- Striving to “solve the world’s biggest problem” of untapped human potential, Evan Carmichael guided participants on a journey to nail down their personal motto for finding success in 2017.
- Author Jacob Morgan challenged us to think differently about employee engagement, and gave us essential tips for building an “experiential organization” to create new business value.
Once Again, Kudos from Gartner
This year marked the 9th time Cisco was designated as a “Leader” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions!
Thanks to its Cisco Spark, Cisco WebEx and Cisco Meeting Server offerings, Cisco was positioned in the highest and furthest positions for its “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision” for meeting solutions.
WebEx + Cisco Spark = BFF
This year we celebrated #NationalBestFriendsDay with our number one pal, Cisco Spark! We go together like peanut butter and jelly, coffee and donuts, burgers and fries, meetings and messaging. There is a lot more in store for Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark in 2018 that we can’t wait to share, so stick with us. Until then, Happy New Year!
At WebEx, our team is always looking for fresh ways to create a better user experience. If you manage or use collaboration tools for your business, you know that a seamless user experience is essential to keeping everyone connected and making sure tech tools are adopted by your team. And when your tools work together, everyone can spend less time troubleshooting and more time collaborating.
We’re excited to share just a few of the coolest new features we’re rolling out that integrate WebEx with some of your other favorite tech tools. Check them out below and give them a try during your next meeting!
Background audio noise detection
WebEx Meeting Center now automatically detects background sounds like knocking, typing, sirens and dogs barking. You’ll be prompted to mute your microphone after detection, to help eliminate distraction and keep the meeting focused on the task at hand.
The noise detection functionality distinguishes between users who are actively speaking and background noises, so you won’t be cut off mid-sentence if Fido chimes in.
MacBook Touch Bar support
Mac users using the WebEx Desktop App can now access meeting controls directly from their MacBook Touch Bar. Just click the button in the Touch Bar to use some of the most popular WebEx functions, like audio mention, mute/unmute, start/stop video and more.
Easy controls at your fingertips. What’s not to love?
Google Calendar Integraion
If you use Google calendar to keep track for your work week, you can now schedule and start Personal Room meetings more easily with the Cisco WebEx Scheduler, which you can download here from the Chrome Web Store. You can also. Simply schedule and add join information by typing @webex in the “Where” line of your Google Calendar invite.
This type of compatibility means you can use WebEx with other productivity tools you love.
Cisco WebEx app for Slack
Last but not least, Cisco WebEx is now available in Slack. Add the WebEx app to a Slack channel and quickly share your WebEx meeting or Personal Room URL with your team. Simply type /webex to share your WebEx Personal Room link.
Want to know more? Follow us on Twitter @WebEx to stay up to speed on the latest product updates, or share your ideas for features you’d like to see!
It’s that time of the year again! The days are shorter. The weather is cooling down. And your manager is asking to see your team’s 2018 plan ASAP.
When there’s a lot on your plate between work and home, staying productive and efficient is non-negotiable. Add in the logistics of coordinating a remote team and the stress can add up quickly. But those end-of-year deadlines don’t have to bring your team down. Follow this simple guide for streamlining your workflow to get that annual plan wrapped up. Hint: the key is collaboration.
Step 1: Create a work space
First things first, you need to assemble your key players together in one place. And I don’t mean a conference room.
To work together fluidly, you need a virtual workspace. Create a Cisco Spark room and include everyone who will contribute to the planning process. You can use it to chat about updates in real time, share documents, review feedback, and even add bots to help you with scheduling and project management. Label the room and ask your team to use it for annual planning only, so conversations stay focused and on-task.
Step 2: The kickoff
Next, schedule a WebEx session to kick things off. Share an agenda in advance to keep the meeting structured. Ask your team to turn on their video – having some face-time can go a long way in rallying everyone around a common goal and help ensure you’re all on the same page.
Consider preparing a few slides with an outline of the plan and share your screen during the meeting. Have everyone weigh in with initial ideas about what’s been working, what’s not, and what the priorities should be for the next year.
Before you close the meeting, be clear about the expectations and next steps. What should be included in the plan? What are the deadlines? Recap team assignments so everyone can divide and conquer.
Step 3: Sharing is caring
Now it’s time to get to work. After your meeting, share a recap in the Cisco Spark room to reinforce the next steps and deadlines.
As each member of your team fulfills their assignments, have them share updates and documents in Cisco Spark. It’s a lot simpler than searching through lengthy email chains to find attachments or links.
Collaborate in real-time via chat or call team members directly, all within Cisco Spark. Bouncing ideas around in as they come up will help move things forward quickly, and you can keep your team in-the-know if things change.
Step 4: Review and revise
Once your plan is drafted, it’s time to start editing. Set up another meeting with your team to review the plan together as a group. Ask yourself a few essential questions along the way. Does the presentation tell a clear story? Did we accomplish what we set out to do? Is our data presented in an impactful way?
Make edits in real-time during the meeting, and continue any follow up via Cisco Spark if you need to add finishing touches.
Step 5: The final presentation
This is where all of the team collaboration will pay off. It’s Showtime!
Schedule a meeting with your manager/stakeholders over WebEx. Have everyone fire up their video and share your deck (just be sure to share your application instead of your entire screen to avoid any distracting notifications). And don’t forget to record the meeting – you can send out a link so anyone who missed out on the presentation can catch up.
Step 6: Celebrate! And keep the conversation going
After you’ve nailed your presentation, congratulate your team and pat yourself on the back. Now that your annual plan is in place, you can keep the work moving in Cisco Spark. Create new rooms for individual projects and initiatives once your plan is approved, and check back in throughout the year.
Having the best collaboration tools makes a big difference when it comes to planning, and every team has a different style that works for them. How does your team approach planning and workflows? Tell us in the comments below!