Categories: Hybrid Work

Returning to the office? Get ready with Webex.

I recently traveled to New York to meet with customers at Cisco’s office at 1 PENN Plaza in Manhattan. Over the past couple of years, the facility has been transformed with collaboration and hybrid work in mind. From the moment we entered the building, it was a whole new experience, enabled by Cisco hybrid work solutions.

In the lobby, the Cisco rich map with touchscreen made it easy to locate and find our way to the meeting space – which had been cleaned an hour before according to the sensor data from the Smart Workspaces solution. The workspaces have been transformed for optimal flexibility and maximum collaboration – 100% unassigned seating, a 30/70 ratio of enclosed vs. shared workspaces (a drastic departure from the previous 70/30 ratio). And they were all equipped with the latest Webex devices, including a couple of all new devices at new price points. More on that in a minute…

Throughout the day we listened as customers shared their experiences and challenges with hybrid work – workspace availability, employee retention, culture and inclusivity, security. As we walked each through the different hybrid workspaces, we demonstrated how Cisco’s hybrid work solutions – a combination of collaboration, networking, security – can help them solve these challenges. In fact, only Cisco has the capabilities to deliver this rich truly hybrid work experience.

This type of transformation doesn’t happen in isolation – it takes Leadership, HR, IT, and Facilities working together. It takes new policies, new thinking – a complete reimagining of where, when, and how work gets done. And it takes an understanding of how people are thinking about work today.

So how are people thinking about work?

People want flexible work arrangements

No commute, healthier habits, a better work-life balance, higher productivity and higher quality of work – these are just a few benefits people cite when asked about their experience with flexible (remote and hybrid) work, according to Cisco’s Global Hybrid Work Study 2022. Additionally, 77% of employees rate technology support as a top priority for working from home successfully. Contrast that with only 25% of workers believing employers are very prepared for a hybrid working future – employers have their work cut out for them to deliver on what their employees want.

Job openings and resignations are both at an all-time high; the perks that once drew and kept top talent at an organization are no longer enough. Hybrid work is both different and harder than how we worked in the past. The new office experience must offer something significantly better than the clear benefits people enjoyed with remote work. Webex can help.

Give everyone an equal seat at the table

In planning for a return to office, it’s important to first consider why people would want to return to the office. It’s not to work alone in a cube – people want rich interactions with colleagues. So, what happens when some people are in the office and others are remote? How do you ensure the people who are remote can participate equally? It’s a real concern. In fact, 82% of the C-Suite are concerned about remote employees being able to participate fully in collaborative sessions – and with good reason. Nearly 90% of employees feel that with flexible work, inclusion and diversity in their organization is the same or better than before. The challenge is: how do we keep the positive gains of the past few years?

Webex can help you break down barriers between people working from home and those in the office. Features like optimize for my/all voices, real-time translation & closed captions, simultaneous interpretation, and gesture recognition make it easier for people to communicate – sometimes without even saying a word. Two-way whiteboarding, embedded polls and Q&A, and asynchronous video messaging enable people to engage and collaborate seamlessly across geographies and interactions of all types and scale.

These are just a few examples of our latest innovations – there’s a ton more. Take a look.

Make every workspace a great experience

We’re also expanding our portfolio of Webex devices with the Webex Room Bar and the Cisco Desk Camera 1080p – two new solutions to meet the varied and evolving needs of hybrid work.

The Webex Room Bar is our new entry-level video bar and a cost-effective way to bring video to huddle spaces and small rooms. The set up out of the box is simple, making transforming your physical workspaces super easy. It has the capabilities you love and expect from Webex devices – immersive audio and video collaboration, intelligence, reliability, and an elegant, sustainable design. It also comes with new features and capabilities such as people focus and interoperability with third-party meeting solutions. Learn more.

The all-new Cisco Desk Camera 1080p is the ideal solution for those spaces where you need high-quality video with maximum flexibility at a price point that fits most budgets. It’s flexible. Mount it on an external monitor, laptop, or tripod, and use it in any workspace. The Cisco Desk Camera App lets you adjust image settings, add presets, record videos, and take snapshots.

The camera also has secure boot and firmware image authentication to ensure it is always recognized as a trusted device, making it easy to manage in Control Hub, along with your other IT assets. Learn more.

Provision, troubleshoot, and manage all of your IT assets

A great user experience is crucial to a successful return to office. But hybrid work adds a level of complexity when it comes to diagnosing and resolving quality issues related to video meetings, calls, and events. Is the problem caused by the company network, a user’s internet service provider at home, or something else? To help solve that issue, we’ve integrated Control Hub with Cisco’s Digital Experience Monitoring service, ThousandEyes, to help Webex Administrators better identify, diagnose, and treat quality issues, minimizing disruptions and helping users get back to work faster.

Issue detection in ThousandEyes integration with Control Hub

We’re also making it easier and faster to provision and configure changes in Control Hub. IT admins can now easily set and apply policies across groups and users with new settings templates. With Templates, when an admin adds a new employee to their Active Directory or Control Hub, Webex automatically adds the appropriate licenses and features of that group to the new employee! Licenses and policies update automatically when an employee changes roles, and revoke access when an employee leaves, reducing errors and freeing up time for IT Admins to focus on other matters.

Together these innovations represent another milestone in a much longer journey. We’ve been working on solving the toughest problems for work – wherever that may be – and innovating relentlessly to enable workers and organizations of all types in all geographies – and we’re not stopping.

There’s a lot more news from Webex this week. I encourage you to check out What’s New in Webex.

Published by
Javed Khan

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