Categories: Collaboration Hybrid Work

How Cisco and Appspace Can Bridge the Return to the Office Safely

The Challenges with Working From Home

Many organizations are stepping up their plans for safe return to the office. With this sudden upsurge of people working from home, there has been conducted multiple studies about this. One of them is by Deloitte1 ,which highlighted some of the challenges many people faced working at home:

At the same time, KPMG2 surveyed over 300 CEO’s as part of their CEO Outlook Covid Edition, which found that having been at the bottom for the last few years, now “Talent Risk” is the top concern that will impact growth. While many CIO’s have focused diligently on the tools, such as video conferencing, they have not necessarily asked themselves the question as to whether those tools will drive engagement, which is directly linked to the experience of the virtual meeting.  For example, when someone is doing many hours of video conferencing on a laptop with a 12” screen they will not have the same engaging experience as someone who is using a purpose built 27” Webex Desk Pro that not only delivers a near in person quality, but that can simultaneously take notes, assign actions and translate in real time. As a result, those on a laptop are unlikely to be as engaged and feel part of the team.

Organizations that have recognized the importance of talent management are the ones that realize there was a reason why they built out their offices with gyms, great cafeterias, dry cleaning services and free coffee and drinks. It was part of ensuring employee retention and attracting new great talent.

The stark reality is that when the pandemic is behind us there is agreement that about 25% of the workforce will be working from home, either full-time remote workers, or switch their time between the corporate and the home office.  In other words, if you want to retain talent and have engaged and motivated team members, you have to take into account the corporate office environment AND the homes offices of your remote workers, and ensure that those at home do not feel like second class team members.

Future of Work – Wellbeing and Belonging

In the same Deliotte1 study there were a number of trends that have become key to the future of work, such as a sense of “belonging” and of “wellbeing”. Both of these key attributes are critical to engaged and motivated employees.

If you take “wellbeing,” you have to ask yourself whether in the past you regularly walked into an office building and questioned whether the air was fresh and clean? Most people clearly do not. In fact, most people do not realize that typically 80% of the air in an office building is recirculated, with only 20% fresh air. This is done to try and save energy, but at what cost to wellbeing?

The problem is that during the pandemic we have been educated that your highest risk of catching the virus is if you are inside, within 6 ft (2M) of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. So why are you unlikely to get the virus outside? Fresh air.  So, it is only natural that many people will now be wanting to know in real time about the environmental conditions in their office.

How Do You Get Your Employees Back to Office Safely?

So how can you ensure that your employees feel safe to return to the office and safe at their home office? That is where Cisco and Appspace can help drive that sense of wellbeing, as well as engagement and a feeling of belonging for everyone, no matter where they are working from.

Appspace is a workplace platform that delivers team communications and space management. When combined with Cisco Webex Devices it can not only drive engagement, but importantly, drive user behavior. Employees and facility managers are given actionable insights by Cisco Webex devices when their surroundings are not safe, either due to too many people or due to poor air quality. With Cisco and Appspace, any conditions that are deemed unsafe will be displayed on the Cisco devices in the affected rooms or open areas for everyone to see. In addition, this can be applied to the home set-up as easily as in the office. Moreover, safe escalations can be built in by connecting an HR person over video if the employees do not adhere to the notification requests on the screens.

The Journey From Home to Office

Imagine being at home and the Cisco Webex Desk Pro informs you of the latest conditions in the office? Then before you go to the office it customizes the screen to show relevant information for your journey and personalized information.  That same system can also monitor the noise and environmental conditions so if the air quality is poor it can suggest opening a window before you are affected by fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration etc. In home offices air quality levels can quickly exceed safe levels if there is no air movement or fresh air.  Yet most people and organizations have no idea of the impact or the fact you can measure and inform the user, whether at home or in the office.

So the journey starts at home with the ability to stay informed and plan for the trip to the office. When using the Cisco Webex Desk Pro it delivers state of the art collaboration that ensures effective engagement. Once in the office you will be able to easily locate people and rooms and book desks, spaces or conference rooms. All the while knowing you will be alerted and shown capacity and environmental conditions of the areas you plan to go to before you get there! If you have access to the building controls the people count on the Cisco devices and network can be used to adjust air volumes and fresh air to optimize energy usage.

So no matter where you are Cisco and Appspace can manage your workspaces and inform you from your home to the office.

Watch this video to see how Cisco and Appspace can engage with your team no matter where they work:

Learn more about how Cisco Webex can help you create an intelligent workplace for your safe return to office


Returning to work in the future of work

KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook

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Published by
Chris Böttger

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