The Rise of Employee Experience

For a long time organizations around the world have been investing in employee engagement. Today this has become the equivalent of short term perks like free food and working from home on Friday’s, basically a Band-Aid solution that manipulates employees into temporary happiness. Unfortunately, this yields little impact for the organizations and has minimal impact on the employees. This is why investment in employee engagement programs is at an all time high why the scores are at an all-time low.

In a recent webinar with WebEx, The Experiential Organization, I talked about trends behind employee experience and how leading organizations are creating new business value by engaging their workforce. If you missed it, watch the replay here to learn what it means for your business.

Read more
Caregivers Find Balance Using Technology

Has anyone ever asked you what your typical day looks like? As an art director, I rarely have one. And with the added responsibility of being a working caregiver to an ailing parent, typical doesn’t quite describe any of my days.

My time is typically accounted for during the week. If my life was an accountant’s ledger, then work and caring for my mother are the debits and credits. This is not a complaint; it’s just how the books have been reconciled for me.

Shortly after my father passed away in 2010, my mother and I began to realize how heavily she depended on him. She would get easily confused and often break into her native tongue, French, which pointed to signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. As her dementia increased rapidly my immediate reaction was to grieve. But, I had to quickly gather my feelings and develop a plan to stay engaged professionally while taking on the new role as caregiver of an aging parent.

The truth is, there’s no handbook — this and every situation is unique. But I’ve found a few ways to stay balanced during the process and I hope these simple tips help others on the same journey.

Find Your New Work-Life Balance

For most people, caring for an aging parent means finding more flexibility in your work schedule. For me, having the capability to be mobile and work a non-traditional schedule has been a life-saver.

Luckily, I’m not alone. According to AARP, 61% of caregivers also work. And the 2015 American Time Use Survey showed that the share of workers doing some or all of their work at home grew from 19 percent in 2003 to 24 percent in 2015. Many companies are beginning to catch on and offer more flexible work arrangements for employees caring for aging parents.

Not sure where to start? Talk to your HR department to educate yourself about your company’s policy and learn about the benefits available to you as a caregiver. Reach out to employee support groups if they’re available to you — sometimes, talking to someone who has walked the same road is the best way to find solutions.

Communicate with Your Team

For me, it was critical to be up-front with my colleagues about my new responsibilities. Letting everyone know what I was grappling with was a huge benefit in the long run when it came to accountability and communication.

I’ve worked with my team and manager to make arrangements for working outside normal hours so I can attend doctors’ appointments or make unexpected trips to the hospital. My transparency with my team has made it easier when things pop up unexpectedly. And it’s had another side effect. I have felt a wonderful outpouring of support from my colleagues, and this has lightened my load emotionally.

Make Technology Work for You

The ability to work remotely helps both businesses and employees and there are almost limitless things you can accomplish from afar using technology.

Collaboration technology has been vital in my process of staying connected to work. While I love working on my laptop for design projects, I’ve found that using the Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark apps on my smartphone or tablet helps me shift seamlessly between “work mode” and “caregiver mode.” For example, when my mom is seeing her doctor, I can hop into a WebEx meeting or check my Cisco Spark conversations for project updates, all on my iPhone from the waiting room. I don’t need to tote around a heavy bag or rely on Wi-Fi.

Being a caregiver is not easy. But, there are ways to cope if you find yourself in a major life transition like mine. Talk with other people who are experiencing the same things. Rely on your supportive network of family and co-workers. And use technology to your advantage to keep your professional and personal houses in order. Being there in person is always better, but in the end, the ability to contribute and work with your team – allows you to “show up” – wherever you may find yourself.

Read more
Make your online meetings mobile-friendly

A mobile-friendly business is now the status quo. You’ve likely thought about making your business more accessible to your customers on their smartphones and tablets. But can your team meet and collaborate while they’re on the go?

People spend more time on their mobile devices than ever before and have very specific preferences about their mobile experience. Your online meetings should be compatible with all major devices, provide a simple user experience and keep information secure.

The infographic below looks at key reasons to make your online meetings mobile-friendly, and shows how your business can upgrade its strategy to keep employees connected from anywhere.

Does your team have challenges meeting remotely? Tell us your story in the comments.

mobile-friendly-meetings

 

Read more
5 hurdles to successful online meetings – and how to overcome them

Think about the best meeting you’ve ever attended. What made it so successful? Odds are, your team collaborated, made decisions and moved a project forward. This kind of progress should be the goal any time a meeting is called.

In reality, challenges often arise that keep your meetings from being productive. And some of these roadblocks can be more difficult than others. When expectations are high, it is important to know how to course-correct so your team can reap the benefits of a successful meeting.

Read more
5 ways to personalize your video conferencing

Technology is constantly changing way we work and interact. With rising costs for travel and more demands on everyone’s time, the use of collaboration tools has become the status quo for many teams.

The ability to share your screen (and more) makes the online meeting valuable to businesses looking to increase productivity and lower costs. But does meeting from afar mean a loss of human connection?

Read more
How to get more out of online meetings

There is more to holding meetings online than connecting with folks outside of the office. Being able to meet in real time from anywhere can expand your customer base, increase sales with a more personal approach, strengthen client relationships and improve customer service.

Whether you face difficulties in wrangling attendees, coordinating schedules or traveling to meet in-person, virtual meetings alleviate the headache of making meetings happen and also bring big business benefits.

In this infographic, IDG Research Services and Cisco WebEx take a deep dive on the into how online meetings can help businesses grow.

How do you use online meetings? Let us know in the comments.

 

how-to-get-more-out-of-online-meetings

Read more
online meeting survival guide
The online meeting survival guide: 4 troubleshooting tips

It’s important to be prepared for any meeting — and online meetings are no exception. The value of video conferencing and webinars is well established. But online meetings have different things to consider than when meeting in-person.

Users responding to an IDG Research Services survey cited technology challenges, reliability of network connections, and participant engagement as the top obstacles that they face when collaborating online.

This survival guide will help you address issues before they arise to ensure your organization gains the full benefits of online meetings.

Read more
Art of the follow up
The art of the follow-up: 3 ways to engage clients

Every sales professional has experienced the frustration of the follow-up to a meeting — the unanswered voice messages, wasted emails, or the “not interested” replies. Traditional follow-up techniques often fail because they don’t feel personal enough to the customer. Meanwhile, reaching out to prospects in-person isn’t always practical because on-site meeting invites may be costly or inefficient.

In a recent IDG survey, 44% of respondents cited travel delays, costs, or impact to productivity as the top hurdles they encounter when meeting with business colleagues in person.1 So how do you reach your prospects in the most costeffective way? Many companies are turning to online meeting and video conferencing tools to overcome these challenges.

Read more
Don’t make your meeting a snoozer

Are meetings a “soul sucking waste of time,” as a columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian suggests?

They could be if they’re unproductive, boring, too many of them, or all of the above. The solution may lie in technology, if used properly. “Technology is essential to innovating the conference call and boosting staff engagement,” according to a Harvard Business Review column.

Video, for instance, may enhance “connectedness between participants” and help them see reactions to one another’s ideas.3 Specific online or video conferencing features that may improve overall engagement include the ability to view multiple video feeds, screen sharing capabilities, document editing, or whiteboard tools and mobile accessibility.

Read more
work life marathon
Work-Life Balance is a Marathon – Not a Sprint

I wake up each morning at 4:30 a.m., often hitting the pavement for a run. It’s early, but these mornings motivate me and are a great time to think. And the other day, I realized that starting my day with a workout is a critical part of achieving the work/life balance that my family and I need.

I also realized this balance is definitely not a sprint, but a daily and personal marathon that takes practice, discipline and thoughtful planning.

Read more
Stable Companies Gain a Competitive Edge with Online Meetings

Not everyone wants to become a business behemoth. Some small and medium businesses (SMBs) that have carved out their own niche in a competitive business scene are content with continuing on their current trajectory.

Stable businesses like these rely heavily on the strength of customer relationships and meetings are their “go-to” way to foster them. And with good reason; according to IDG Research Services, 43 percent of respondents said meetings improve customer/client service. But since face-to-face meetings pose inevitable challenges, more SMBs are leveraging online meetings to complement – or completely replace – in-person gatherings.

What challenges do SMBs face when it comes to in-person meetings and how are online meetings alleviating them? Get the answers to these questions – and other rich insights – in a new infographic from IDG Research Services.

Cisco_Online Meetings Competitive Edge_v3 copy

Read more
Online Meetings Enable Better Business Execution

For busy executives and managers tasked with overseeing business operations, in-person meetings can have many benefits, from strengthening customer relationships to increasing productivity.

But these types of meetings also have challenges. In a survey of company decision-makers with fewer than 250 employees, IDG Research Services found that 36 percent of respondents found slow decision-making was an issue in face-to-face meetings; another 44 percent cited achieving a work/life balance as another problem in regards to scheduling them.

With a more dispersed workforce and having to rise to the challenge of meeting employee demand for better collaboration methods, leaders are relying more on online meetings and videoconferencing solutions. But just how do these types of meetings enable more collaboration and efficiently foster better communication?

In a new data-rich infographic, IDG Research Services and Cisco WebEx invite you to take a closer look – and gain a deeper understanding – of how online meetings can enable business execution.

Cisco_Online Meetings Enable Business Execution_v2 copy

Read more
Better Business Opportunities through Online Meetings

Meetings are a necessity of business. They provide employees a platform to enhance relationships achieve goals, improve productivity and more. But if your team isn’t equipped with the right tools to meet remotely, those meetings can mean missed opportunities. The right online meeting and video conferencing solutions can mean better outcomes for employees and the organization as a whole.

Today’s work environment creates a new set of challenges for the professionals responsible for choosing the tools that keep a business running. Online meeting tools need to be easy to manage, but also fit the pressures of a mobile workforce, rising demands on productivity and the need to keep to costs down.

Work/life balance also plays a role. A recent survey from IDG Research Services and Cisco WebEx revealed that 44% of those responsible for delivering resources to their co-workers mentioned achieving a healthy work/life balance as a top challenge to holding in-person meetings.

When employees are enabled to do their jobs better, businesses can overcome obstacles like poor productivity and slow-decision making. And the most agile companies can use these surface-level benefits to propel their business forward to new opportunities, more revenue and higher levels of achievement.

In a newly released white paper, “Enabling Business Opportunities with Online Meetings and Video Conferencing,” takes a deeper dive into the minds of professionals who hold key resource positions within their teams, the challenges in-person meetings present them, and the endless possibilities online meetings and video conferencing platforms enable.

enabling-business-opportunities-header

 

Read more