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Working smarter- Managing a remote team
Working smarter: Managing a remote team

Managing a team is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences you can have at work.  Its widely known that employees often choose to stay with a company based on their experience with their direct manager.  The way you form a team, share goals and work together through challenges creates a culture that out-lives deadlines. But what happens when a team takes on a new challenge the experience of working together remotely?  

Here’s our top tips on effectively managing a remote team: 

Lead by example 

If your team is new to remote work – they may have questions and nervously look to you to set the new cultural normsIs it ok if my team sees my home in my background?  What if there’s unexpected interruptions like a dog barking?  As a leader, you set the tone for the transition.  

  1. Sharing video is the new face to face.   Seeing you on video regularly is reassuring and gives you the chance to use your full communication skills – your gestures, tone and message are better received when your team can see the full picture.  
  2. When messaging, remember that your team can’t see your reactions. Give your team more context on the intent behind a message by choosing from thousands of Gifs in Webex Teams to express yourself.When messaging, remember that your team can’t see your reactions. Give your team more context on the intent behind a message by choosing from thousands of Gifs in Webex Teams to express yourself
  3. Share moments that matter.  In the office, colleagues regularly spend time celebrating birthdays, family news and personal moments that matter.  When remote – your role as leader is critical to maintaining the connections – by creating time in existing meetings to connect on non-work news or scheduling entire sessions to celebrate team news, like this virtual baby/bridal shower! 

Get social 

In an office environment, you interact with your team inbetween your weekly scheduled meetings and 1:1’s for example, when you arrive in the morning, get coffee or go to lunch.  There’s no reason the water-cooler conversations need to stop when you’re working remotely.  

  1. Let’s get social!  In Webex Teams, create a space under your team for social interaction, like sharing family news, team member adventures or whatever becomes the topic of the day.
  2. During 1:1 team calls, make sure you and your team member both turn on video.  Whether it’s a project update, milestone or a more difficult coaching session – seeing you face to face makes all the difference. 

Here’s our top tips on effectively managing a remote team when a team takes on a new challenge - the experience of working together remotely. Two people talking face to face on a remote meeting

Remote control your project  

Your team may be concerned about moving away from an in-person experience, where they could talk on the fly, share an idea on a whiteboard and access you for help whenever needed.  However, In many ways, working virtually on a project provides many new ways of working for your team and much more accountability, and visibility in to work in progress for you 

  1. Kick off with a bang!  During your project kick off meeting, leave time for open ideation – just like you would in an office.  Leave space in the agenda for using a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm on ideas.   anyone can contribute from their device and best of all – you can feel confident your ideas won’t be erased as they are saved and can be reopened whenever you need them.Ideation with using a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm on ideas. Man using Webex Teams remotely and ideating with a team
  2. Create space to catch up.  Bringing together content, with messages, links and real time meetings in a Webex Teams space is a project gamechanger.  Even if you step away to deal with other priorities – you can check back into the project space at any time and catch up on the background conversations you missed – something that’s not even possible in a live office. 
  3. Being available in one click is invaluable when working remotely.  Even when you’re in a meeting – your team can still reach out to message you 1:1 and you can view it and reply when you have a moment. If they need to escalate – share your personal meeting room (PMR).  For your team – Knowing you’re available on video on any device and can easily add others to the call will leave them confident they can rely on you, even when remote.  

Stay connected

Working remotely doesn’t mean that your team should feel remote.  Stay connected through celebrations, deadlines and watercooler conversations – on any device.   Your leadership, support and use of Webex Meetings and Teams means your team can be set up for success from wherever they may be.   

We’ve created a page with more guidance for end users and people managers on working remotely at cs.co/webexremotework

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Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely 

3 tips for working with remote team members

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Featured image Webex
Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

There is an unprecedented increase in remote working happening worldwide, which is growing exponentially daily. Today, due to global circumstances resulting from COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease), many who are working from home are not doing so as a perk, but as an imperative.

Let’s start with some facts

  • Traffic on the Webex backbone connecting China-based Webex users to their global workplaces has increased as much as 22 times since the outbreak began.
  • During the same time period, we also saw 4 to 5 times as many users in Japan, South Korea and Singapore, with the average time spent on Webex video meetings doubling among users in those countries.
  • On average, free sign-ups in impacted countries are up 7 times over pre-outbreak sign-up rates.

Cisco’s proactive plan

With the recent uptick in Italy and additional countries, Cisco continues to actively monitor global traffic trends and usage worldwide, and have a proactive plan to support our customers with their changing needs. It’s our priority to enable people to work from anywhere (including home), anytime, and on any device so they stay connected with their teams and can continue their business operations. As the market leader, we’re enabling this in multiple ways.

Effective immediately, we’ve expanded the capabilities on our free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, not only those impacted by COVID-19.  Full details on the offer and eligible countries are available here

The additional features include:

  • Unlimited usage (no time restrictions)
  • Supports up to 100 participants
  • Offers toll dial-in (in addition to existing VoIP capabilities).

Additionally, through our partners and the Cisco sales team, we are providing free 90-day licenses to businesses who are not Webex customers in this time of need. We’re also helping existing customers meet their rapidly changing needs as they enable a much larger number of remote workers by expanding their usage at no additional cost.

Expanding our worldwide meeting capacity

We’re also proactively expanding our worldwide meeting capacity, scaling up further in the United States and Europe, working with non-governmental organizations to enable schools (among other use cases), while partnering closely with our customers who are rapidly scaling up their work from home efforts.

Around the clock assistance for all business needs and continuity

Our team is working around the clock to ensure your business needs are met. Most cloud services plan and size for peak volumes – not only infrastructure but also the network capacity required. Cisco is continually improving our worldwide connectivity by working with carriers to assist with last mile connectivity, to reduce latency between our end-users and the Webex cloud. This work is enabling organizations, like The Nestbitt Center and Expert Systems Limited (both based in Hong Kong), to help their people stay connected and productive.

We are happy to support The Nestbitt Center, an organization that works with young adults with physical and mental disabilities. Like all schools in Hong Kong, the Center had to suspend their day program. Videoconferencing has enabled them to continue delivering sessions, and enabling the rollout of future therapeutic services including music, speech and language therapy.

To ensure business continuity, Expert Systems Limited have chosen to implement a two-team system by which each team alternates daily between working from home and the office. Despite less physical interaction on any given day, the collective team is experiencing a historical high in team engagement.

Our team in China

Our own team in China is also using Webex (you may think of Webex as just conferencing – but Webex includes video meetings, persistent chat, specialized work from home video devices and calling) from their homes in Hefei, Hangzhao, Suzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and other cities. It’s incredible to witness this team’s high spirit and comradery as they work together not just in their business dealings, but also in banding together as one family, deeply connected to their communities and each other.

 

Closing thoughts

Cisco has been in this business longer than any other vendor on the planet. We are doing all we can and are prepared to help through this trying time. We will continue to provide our point of view, timely updates, and practical advice on remote working and much more. (See additional online resources below.)

In the meantime, our thoughts are with all those who are impacted.

Additional resources and practical advice on working remotely

 

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Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education
Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

Webex Education Connector expanding the reach of the classroom

Collaboration in schools just got easier with Blackboard Learn + Webex Education Connector! For education institutes who have Blackboard Learn as their learning management system (LMS), they can now integrate Webex into Blackboard Learn via the Webex Education Connector. This allows the instructors and students to leverage Webex features and capabilities without downloading the Webex app. Instructors can schedule and start meetings within the Blackboard learn interface, while students can join meetings and view previously recorded sessions.  

The full set of capabilities includes:  

  • Schedule Meetings  
  • Start and Join Meetings 
  • View Recordings for past meetings 
  • Schedule Office Hours  
  • Create Teams and spaces 
  • Collaborate (Message, Call and File sharing) with students  

Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

But wait…. there is more!  

In addition to Blackboard Learn, we now also have an in-depth Recording Library. In education, recordings have many valuable uses. Recordings of existing sessions can be re-used in future semesters, they can be used as supplemental material in other class offerings, or as guest lecturer content worldwide Additionally, with the advancement of flipped learning (pedagogical approach to learning where students learn materials before class), recordings enable class time to be used in a different way, focusing on deeper understanding of materials and problem-solving activities.  

The Recording library allows an instructor to create a recording and publish it to their students in other classes with the following capabilities 

  • Allows an instructor to rename, view and delete their own recordings  
  • Ability to host a Webex meeting within a course for the purpose of capturing a Webex recording, without making the meeting it visible to the students immediately  
  • Ability to record a private Webex Meeting recording and share with students in single or multiple classes  
  • Ability for a student to view recorded Webex Meetings that the instructor has shared  

Ability for a student to view recorded Webex Meetings.

What’s coming next 

Since not every educational institute operates via the same methods, upcoming features will include more administration for LMS and granular control over classroom groupings. Administrators using the Admin Panel will be able to control what users have visibility to, whether it includes all the features within the Webex Education Connector or just a subset. This helps ensure compliance with educational regulations as well as simplifies the experience by removing unused features 

For schools using the ‘sections in classroom’ collaboration feature in Canvas (creating virtual teams), admins will now be able to apply divisions so that students in one section will not be able to see the spaces created by other sections. This helps keep student work only in their group, keeping groups focused.

For schools using the ‘sections in classroom’ collaboration feature in Canvas (creating virtual teams), admins will now be able to apply divisions so that students in one section will not be able to see the spaces created by other sections. This helps keep student work only in their group, keeping groups focused. 

Bring the classroom together with collaboration

By partnering with educational platforms like Blackboard, we are always looking to see how we can use collaboration to make the lives of students, teachers and parents simpler, easier and more accessible globally. From the classroom to graduation, Webex has you covered.

To keep up with the latest advancements in collaboration education check out Webex Education Connector site.

For more information, on Webex Education Connector see the following:

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