Part of a Powering People First series that focuses on increasing and promoting personal well-being and building better quality connections and a more inclusive work experience for all
It happened quickly. Like most of us, one-minute Julie was working in the office and the next she was home full time, with little notice or time to plan. With only her company-provided laptop and mouse, the days and weeks continued. She quickly realized that being hunched over her laptop for 12 hours a day crafting 3D modeling and in back-to-back meetings isn’t ideal.
This is simply one story from the many I hear like this meeting with customers over the past 6 months. Collaboration tools have never been more essential than they are now. It has become clear that as a global community we have moved from collaboration being simply a tool for the productivity champion to it being the connective tissue within an organization’s culture. The use is well beyond just the meeting. Not only do we have to consider our immediate needs working remotely but also how they will translate when we begin to work a hybrid schedule between home and office. It is about a safe return to office, adhering to local rules and regulations, and keeping employees safe. For many of us, Julie’s story is our own story.
The result of working from home due to COVID has been a democratizing of meetings. We have an equal voice as all of us are joining from our own locations with the same opportunities to participate on video. But as we return to the office, we risk building barriers again where people in the same meeting room may find it a challenge to engage those who are not. My passion is to see people thrive when faced with distance. This is particularly true as we now will have remote participants in almost every meeting – even if it’s in the conference room next door. Whether in the office, at home, or anywhere in-between, I believe in the importance of democratizing collaboration and empowering an inclusive future of work. This means that equipping our people with the right tools and creating intelligent workspaces with devices designed for such a purpose is critical to sustainable remote work, hybrid work, and a safe return to office — much like what can be seen in the video below:
That’s why I’m beyond excited to announce new cloud promotion for Webex Desk and Room devices making intelligent collaboration experiences for every space even more affordable with significant savings from typical end-customer prices. For a limited time, new or existing Webex Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Active User (AU) customers with “Meetings” or “Meeting + Calling Pack”, Webex Suite EA (cloud or premise calling) or Webex Suite Named User (NU) (3-year commitment required) can qualify for substantial discounts on select Webex Devices. Please engage your Cisco partner or Cisco sales representative for the promotion details available to your situation.
For someone like Julie, this could make all the difference in how she works. It’s not just the screen real estate and dedicated compute that matters but the enhanced experiences made available with Webex Devices. As you’ve heard today, we previewed the future capability of People Focus to ensure that everyone shows up on video the same way, individually framing them so that everyone has equal visibility in a meeting. This innovation will help ensure we continue to democratize meetings and avoid barriers when we return to office. Earlier this month, we announced Immersive Share as a way to increase audience engagement with the presenter and their content. A little over a year ago, no one would think twice about attending a meeting in a conference room with 12 other people while a presenter stands in front and to the side of a monitor where content is being shared. Immersive Share digitizes that same experience so that people are offered one less hurdle to mentally overcome during meetings over video. When your eyes are focused on the content and the body language of the presenter at the same time, there is a great benefit to how the message is received. I’m confident this is the exact reason we are seeing incredible use of this feature within Cisco!
A recent Cisco news release highlights the need for being connected from anywhere and on any device, which requires businesses to be more agile and prioritize things like collaboration in order to create trusted work experiences. I couldn’t agree more. For the same price as a smart phone or laptop, organizations can provide a complete collaboration experience that reflects the connective tissue that it is by supplying their workforce with devices that help create trust and rapport. Many companies invested in collaboration software like Webex to quickly meet the needs of a remote workforce. Now, with a long-term strategy in mind, we can further the reward of collaboration far greater than the cost by adding the devices needed for a full and connected experience no matter where a person works.
In Julie’s story, she felt overwhelmed in her day-to-day work from not having the right tools to support her job at home or the connected experience when she returned to office. Equally, her IT and facilities management felt unable to support her the way they wanted and needed. None of us should feel so strained and counterproductive in this new way of working. Cisco is striving to provide tools that enable both well-being and productivity. Our purpose-built devices deliver an essential piece of this experience. And now, they are more affordable than ever helping to empower an inclusive future of work for all.