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Introducing Box integration for team collaboration
Box for Webex! Content has a new home on Box

During a time when many organizations have shifted to a nearly 100% remote workforce, Cisco Webex is introducing a new addition for enterprise content management on Webex Teams. It’s time to let go of your stacks of paper and say hello to Box for Webex!

Instant team collaboration, even when working remote

Remote teams need more than email chains, phone calls and static documents to most-effectively work together. Teams who are enabled to collaborate together on unified platforms, such as Webex, are able to co-create and share ideas as though they’re face-to-face, co-edit and make decisions much faster than through traditional means. The addition of Box to the enterprise content management feature set enables users to select Box as their document repository. Users can work together in real-time in Webex Teams, by sharing and viewing box content directly within the unified app.

Sharing and Viewing Box Content within unified app

Share and view files from Box

Share your Box files with everyone in a space and view the full file in a pop out window.

See file previews

See a preview thumbnail of shared files to quickly identify what the document is.

Update file sharing security setting

Ensure only the right users have access to shared files.

Box content is accessible and shareable from within Webex Teams and does not index the shared content in Webex Teams. The only metadata that is stored by Webex Teams is the file name and file type, so you know your data is secure.

Set up in minutes

If you already collaborate on Webex Teams, you can enable the Box integration through Control Hub, and access the content management settings to configure Box for users, or on a global level.

Services –>Message Setting–>Content Management–>Edit Settings

ECM 1.3 Adding a file from BoxNow more than ever, as workplaces transform, it is critical to have a seamless workstream of technology and tools that help you get work done. Cisco Webex and Box are here to help. We are working on ways we can deepen and expand how Webex can interoperate with the Box platform to ensure seamless, secure collaboration for users and admins, that will deliver best-in-class experiences.

For the full deployment guide on ECM configuration visit help.webex.com and start collaborating with your team using Box with Webex Teams.

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Embracing the rise of remote working

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Working smarter anywhere— Working remotely

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Employee whiteboarding with a house design guide, and making marks using the webex coloring tool
Creating digital teams in Webex Teams series — Chapter 3: Whiteboards, no line on the horizon

Creating digital teams in Webex Teams series

The “Creating Digital Teams in Webex Teams” series will spotlight techniques in managing and inspiring remote and #WFH teams.  Learn how the Webex Platform and Webex Teams can help transform your remote team into an engaged, creative and productive team no matter if people are across the hall, town or globe.

Managing a digital team using Webex Teams

As a people manager at Cisco, I manage a team spread across multiple time zones and countries.  There are many #WFH resources out there these days but for this series of blogs I thought I would focus on how to build and manage a digital team using the Webex Teams Platform.

For this blog we will be covering helping unlock your team’s creativity and engagement with infinite whiteboards in Webex Teams.

No boundaries

If you haven’t guessed already, at Cisco Webex, we work remote…. ALOT.  We can empathize with what it takes to work remotely better than most companies on the planet.  So, when we set out to build tools for our customers, we strive to make the virtual experience just as immersive, engaging and maybe even better than being there in person.  One way we do this is by bringing humanity and creativity into the collaboration workflow using what we call, Infinite Whiteboards.

In talking to our customers and looking at ourselves, we know that people collaborate in a lot of different ways.  Inside Cisco, we use whiteboards everywhere, it’s just part of our culture.  Many would agree that it’s easier to just draw out what you mean to communicate a new idea or a way to think about something different or just have fun.  In many of our physical locations, whiteboards are prevalent everywhere, even most of the walls are whiteboards.  So, we thought to ourselves, how do we reimagine that very human experience of collaboration and digitize it?  Answer, infinite whiteboards.

Get started with whiteboards

Get Started with Whiteboards. A whitebard dasshboard with Big Ideas Room Creativity Workshop and the tabs reading messages, people, content , and schedule

Click on the space in Teams that you want to meet/chat in and you will see in the space categories (messages, people, content and schedule), click on Content (green arrow) and then Whiteboards where the maroon arrow is located to get to the whiteboards.  From there you can select a new whiteboard from whatever device you happen to be using (laptop, tablet, phone etc) and just start drawing.  If you happen to be in a meeting, everyone in the same meeting (virtually or in the same room) will also see and be able to engage with the whiteboard using whatever device they have in their hand or in the room.

It’s alive!

Get Started with Whiteboards. A whitebard dasshboard with Big Ideas Room Creativity Workshop and the tabs reading messages, people, content , and schedule

Once you have opened up your whiteboard and started working on it with your team, all of the changes you make are automatically saved.  Anything you draw, add/remove stickies, etc all are saved magically.  Anyone that is invited into the space can pick up where you left off in the whiteboard and continue.  This makes working with teams really dynamic and fun.  Why is this important? As a manager, you can be much more inclusive with your team members when the tools can help facilitate everyone’s input when and how they want to contribute.

Share It

post snapshot and download. Image of the bottom right corner of the whiteboard that shows a Post a Snapshot and Download buttonOn the bottom right corner of each whiteboard there is a share button.  When you select that button, you will be able to Post a Snapshot of that whiteboard into the Teams Space you are in or you can send it out via a text message, email or post to another site as a PDF.

Examples of where to use whiteboards

With my team we often use whiteboards in many of the planning and strategy sessions we do both internally and externally (yes, you can do this too with people outside of your company). However, some other examples of using whiteboards:

  • Daily / Weekly stand ups or reviews with the teams
  • Project kick offs
  • Customer discovery sessions
  • Network topologies
  • Marketing Events
  • Storyboard design
  • Executive Workshops
  • eLearning / Concept development

Hopefully whiteboards was something that you are able to incorporate into your next remote team building session.  Stay tuned for Chapter 4: Webex Teams and Microsoft, the sweetest thing.

Experience the future of work with Webex

Learn more

Connect with all blogs in the Creating Digital Teams in Webex Teams

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

How to launch a community with Webex Teams

Webex Teams — say hello to the new in-space design

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How to launch a community with Webex Teams

Learn best practices and the tools needed to use Teams like a boss

Webex is known for the Meetings platform, but the newest addition to Webex is a complete collaboration platform called Webex Teams. Teams is a messaging app with video conferencing capabilities built-in. It is an extremely secure solution with bots, integrations, desktop sharing functionality and more. This article will go over what Webex Teams is and how to use it when starting a virtual community as a resource space for a FAQ, office hours, or even an office watercooler. Don’t know what Webex Teams is? Here is a quick overview.

 

Why Webex Teams over Facebook Groups or other chat apps

  • Facebook is a great tool and I use it for my family and friends, but it can be too distracting to get work done as you can get constantly wooed away by shiny distractions in the news feed and sidebar.
  • Extremely secure. Our model has a core layer and a security layer that are kept separate from one another. See Security Whitepaper.
  • We don’t sell and collect data
  • Video, whiteboarding and desktop sharing is native within the app
  • No multiple account logins or workspaces. You can have different people from different companies join your Webex Team space without switching between different organizations to messages users. Email doesn’t function like that. Neither does Webex Teams.
  • Teams can also display the presence status of end-users if they’ve been away, are in Do-Not-Disturb state, on a video (orange camera icon), sharing their desktop (red rectangular icon) or on a phone call. The bottom image provides the avatars of end-users that have read your messages, such as green as available or red crescent moon for Away/DND.
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Prescense Notifications.
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Read receipt avatars.
  • Webex Teams is FREE
  • No messaging search limits or restrictions
  • Search everything.  Searched keyword, user, date, or another parameter. Attach files, like PDFs and Word docs, and search within those files too.No alt text provided for this image
Search tab and options.

A virtual community use case – Webex Ambassadors

We will use the Webex Ambassador Community as a case study for this article. Webex Ambassadors started as Spark Ambassadors back in 2016 as an internal Webex community of developer evangelists and it has evolved and grown over the years. This community now has over 2,600 members globally. It also includes various Special Interest Group spaces for various topics. I will break the article down into five categories to start your community.

  1. Promoting Your Community
  2. Setting up Webex Teams
  3. Managing Your Community
  4. Bots & Integrations
  5. Tips & Tricks

Promoting your community

Landing page

The first thing you want to do is have a site that gives users an overview of what they are joining. You can check out ambassador.webex.com. Here is our “Join Now” call to action button to join the community.

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Code of conduct & community guidelines

These are policies or best practices for your community. You want to make sure you cover rules of engagement, ethics and legal issues, spam, and how users can post. Here is an example of the Ambassador Code of Conduct & Guidelines. Every user must agree to the code of conduct before they can join the space. This is listed in our web form.

Inviting users & automation with a sign-up form

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Here are some cool tricks you can do with Webex Teams workflow integrations. Having an auto-sign up using Typeform or Google Forms is rather easy. Applications like Zapier or Built.io makes it a lot easier to integrate these applications. For example, you can have a workflow that once a person signs up on Formidable Forms, they are added into a mailer, like Mailigen, then added to Smartsheets and then finally added into Webex Teams.

We have other ways end users can join your community spaces such as using the bots and integrations. We will dive more about this in the Bots & Integrations section.

Install the desktop & mobile Teams app

First, download the Webex Teams app. You can use Teams on multiple devices, from the browser on your computer’s desktop to a mobile phone. It’s best to use the native desktop app instead of the browser as it will have more features.

Setting up Webex Teams

  • Create a team, a space and add moderators. The video below will show how to create a team and a space. If you need an overview of what a Team and Space, it is explained hereWebex Jargon: In the Webex world, we call “channels”, “spaces” because we associate them to physical spaces, but just virtualized. If you ever have to use the Webex app with a Webex Rooms video device, you’ll see it associate to a space (not using Bluetooth) using ultrasonic frequency pairing for desktop sharing and video conferencing purposes. That office space also has a physical video device tied to that virtual space in Teams. Check out a demo here.
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Note: Cisco Intelligent Proximity pairing uses high-frequency sound in the 20kHz to 22kHz audio frequency range to establish a connection. Here, Webex Teams is my app to control my work from home device, the Cisco Webex Desktop Pro.

Here is a quick video on how to first create a Team and then a Space in Webex.

 

  • Create a space. Click on the “+” icon to create a space and give it a name. Here we will call it “Webex Community.”
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  • Add members. Next, go to “Members” and add a team member. You can add them by entering the user’s email address.
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  • Add moderators. Once you add them, you can “right-click” on the name and “Assign Moderator of the Team.”
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  • Manage & customize your space. Here we will add space icon images and disable the function of @all as it can be annoying if there are thousands of people in a space being notified. We will also recommend converting the “General” space into an “Announcement Mode” space. If you need to share important information with your team, without the distraction from other conversations happening in the space, you can use announcement mode in any moderated space just for announcements. On teams, the only space that’s moderated is the General space so that’s the only space where you can use announcements. Only the space moderators can post in Announcement Mode spaces.No alt text provided for this image
  1. To enable, go to the General space -> Moderator settings -> “Disable @mentions to all” and “Turn on Announcement Mode.” Once enabled, users will see this notification.
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  • Add a space name and image. You can change any space name except the General space for your team. Furthermore, any member can change these details unless the space is moderated, then it must be done by a moderator. You can also change a space picture, by uploading a picture for the space. The file has to be under 10 MB and ideally a square image between 200×200 pixels and 1000×1000 pixels.No alt text provided for this image
  1. To change the Space image, go to Edit space settings -> Click on the camera icon and “Add Image.”
  2. To change the Space name, double click the space field to enter a name.
  • Public or private spaces. Creating a moderated space means that only moderators can add users to the Team. By default, all spaces are a Private space or an invite-only space. Public spaces can be created if you add the EURL bot, which we will discuss later. Overall, this is how you can control who joins your community.
  • Enable restrictions for guests in Team spaces through Webex Control Hub. Webex Control Hub is the administrator portal page to configure Webex. As a moderator, you don’t need access to this, but if you want to set various global permissions, you need to ask your administrator to grant you access to set this up. One example is to control how people are added as guests to team spaces, they aren’t members of that team. You can prevent these guests from adding and removing participants, changing the space name, and editing space settings.
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  1. Go to admin.webex.com -> Services -> Scroll to “Team Guest Restrictions”
  2. Toggle Enable restrictions for team guests to on.

Managing your community

  • Multiple moderators. As your community grows, it is ideal to have multiple moderators to help monitor if chats are in compliance, to delete inappropriate messages, add or remove bots, and to perform backup moderator tasks. Bonus Tip: Try to have moderators from different parts of the globe to cover various time zones for additional support.No alt text provided for this image
  • Post rules on a monthly or quarterly basis. It’s always good to remind your community the do’s and don’ts when posting in a space. Here’s an example of what we send in our Ambassador space. Note that this is a template using Markdown formats and then how it would look like rendered in the space.

Hello 👋🏻 Ambassadors, we want to share a few **Ambassador house rules!**

**Rules** 📜

  1. 💬 Before asking questions in a space, please check Google or specifically the [Help Portal.](help.webex.com)
  2. ❓If you can’t find your answer, post your question in the appropriate community space. For example, technical questions should be posted in the Engineering space.  Learn about these Community Spaces [here.](https://ambassador.webex.com/webex-teams-communities/)
  3. 👊🏻 To help us keep it fun, helpful, safe, and friendly, we ask that you comply with our [Community Code of Conduct.](https://ambassador.webex.com/code-of-conduct/)
  4. 🙊 Do not use the **@all command, create a new Space, add bots or add users to the Spaces without [signing up as a Candidate.](https://ambassador.webex.com/ambassadors/)**
  5. 🤔 If you have support questions, including certificates, please direct your message @ModeratorName.

Let me know in a DM if you have any other suggestions or have questions.

**Have a great weekend.**


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Rendered markup.
 
  • Notifications. A space can get noisy especially with thousands of users messaging. You can customize how you want to be notified in a space.
  1. Go to the Space -> Settings Icon -> Notifications. As a moderator, I only respond to @Mentions only.

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  • Place a spotlight on power members of your community. Whether you’re highlighting customer stories, testimonials, or users who represent success, take an opportunity to frequently recognize stars in your own community.

Bots & integrations

Below are some essential bots to help you start and grow your virtual community.

  • Email2Teams bot. The email2teams bot will take all the participants in an email thread and migrate the conversation to Webex Teams. This is a great way to invite new users to Webex Teams as anyone not already signed up for Teams receives an email invitation. Once registered, they’re automatically added to the space. Here’s how to use the bot.

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  1. Open your email. In the ‘To’ line, add the emails of the users you want to invite in the space. In the BCC line, add “bot@email2teams.com” (the ‘To’ & ‘CC’ fields won’t work).
  2. The bot receives your email, creates a Teams space with the ‘Subject’ as the title, then leaves.
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  • EURL. The EURL bot is short for “External URL.” The intention of this bot is to create a public space and provide a URL where users can click the link, enter their email and join the space. Let’s add the bot, “eurl@sparkbot.io” to the space.
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  1. Once you add the bot to the space, it will provide you various commands. Here we will open up this space externally to users outside our organization email domain, which is capitalfactory.com.
  2. To add external users outside capitalfactory.com, type “Eurl internal off”
  3. The URL that was generated is: https://eurl.io/#vHLeL9CMF Feel free to join the space to test the bot out.
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  • Once you click on the EURL link, an end-user can join this space by clicking on the URL that was generated. You can learn more about the bot here on the Webex App Hub.

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  • Power Pack. This is a very handy tool that is used to invite new users to a new space or into an existing space. It is a free service that bulk add users by uploading a CSV file. You can also send broadcast messages to multiple spaces at once. Learn more about the bot here.
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  • Translate bot. There are a lot of translator bots on the Apphub like Chinese, German, Filipino, French, and more. You can add these bots into a space. Here is an example of an English to Spanish bot for our LATAM Ambassador community. You just @mention the bot and enter the text you need to be translated. You can learn more about the bot here.

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  • Inquire bot. This bot isn’t meant to be deployed in large spaces, but it has been proven useful in areas where there needs a way to track FAQ or in this case bugs. In this example, this is an internal space to post bugs for Webex Teams. You can see users posting images and answers and then engineers and product managers posting an answer in the space and it automatically ties into Jira to create a case. The Inquire bot is a knowledge base bot and has three main functions.

1) Ask Questions – Capture questions that were asked inside a Teams space. Here the end-user is asking to file a bug and is @mentioning the Inquire bot.

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2) Get Answers – Provide a way to answer those questions and ensure the original questioner receives the information they need. You can @mention the bot and answer in the space, or you can click on the “here” link and answer on the web as well.

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3) Gather Knowledge – Assemble a knowledge base of all the information that is gathered amongst Teams spaces. You can also export the FAQ to a CSV file.No alt text provided for this image

You can learn more about the Inquire bot here or check out the demo video below.

  • Webex Ambassador welcome bot. This is just an example bot to welcome new Ambassadors to our Webex community and outlines a set of rules to adhere to. The bot will 1:1 the new user that is added to the space and send them this message. The bot monitors new memberships and must be in the same space the end-users are joining. The code is on Github if you would like to implement it for your own community.

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Tips & tricks

  • Space titles with EURL. Having a title is important. If you want an external space and not having people to @mention the bot to know what the space URL is, it’s best to add it in your title. Here is an example title for the xAPI Developer space with the EURL link.
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  • Use reactions as a way to poll users or use Pollbot. Here is an example to use the “thumbs up” as a way to poll users. You can use reactions or if you want to get more detailed you can use various applications like PollBot or you can use free web polls like Polltab.
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  • Use threads. Make sure people are aware of the “Reply to Thread” option to keep communications easy to read. Just hover over the message and the “reply” arrow will appear.

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Reply thread conversation.
  • Support spaces. Within Webex Ambassadors, we created a specific space for support. On our website, we specifically told users to join this space for issues with their certificates or application. This helps cut down noise in the General or main community space. You also want to make sure your moderators will be seen by your end-users as support. Be prepared for this.

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  • Create a space directory. There are a lot of communities and spaces you can provide for your company by creating a directory website. These spaces, people can join by click on the”Join” created by the EURL bot. You visit this actual site, here.
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Final thoughts

Overall, this is just a quick way to start a community in Webex Teams. If you have questions, leave a comment. If you find this article helpful, please follow me and share this blog! 👍🏼

Bot credits

Thank you for the following people making the Ambassador Community bots. Note that if the bot isn’t on AppHub, it isn’t Cisco TAC supported. Cisco owned Integrations include: Email2Teams. This bot was created by former Webex Innovation Team Member, Marcello Federico. The following bots were funded by the Webex Innovation Team and created for Ambassadors: EURL bot created by Cisco TME Randy Birdsall; Power-pack.io created by former Cisco SE, Brad McAllisterInquire Bot, created by former Webex Innovation Team Member, Aman ChabraWebex Ambassador Welcome Bot on GitHub, created by Cisco SE Marcel Neidinger.

Learn More

Connect with all blogs in the Creating Digital Teams in Webex Teams

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

Webex Teams — say hello to the new in- space design

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Creating digital teams in Webex Teams series: Chapter 2: Stay faraway, so close with Webex Teams

Creating digital teams in Webex Teams series

The “Creating Digital Teams in Webex Teams” series will spotlight techniques in managing and inspiring remote and #WFH teams.  Learn how the Webex Platform and Webex Teams can help transform your remote team into an engaged, creative and productive team no matter if people are across the hall, town or globe.

Managing a digital team using Webex Teams

As a people manager at Cisco, I manage a team spread across multiple time zones and countries.  There are many #WFH resources out there these days but for this series of blogs I thought I would focus on how to build and manage digital team using the Webex Platform with Webex Teams. 

For this blog we will help answer a question we get asked a lot:” …how do you create and organize a workshop when everyone is remote?” 

Build your team 

A common function of teamwork is to coordinate and collaborate across many different workstreams to achieve a common goal.  In some cases, this could be as simple as responding to a customer’s RFP/RFQ, preparing for a product launch, or planning customer workshop.  In all of these cases, building and bringing your team together was often the easy part, doing this over an extended period of time and performing this remotely can be very challenging.

Creating Digital Teams in Webex Teams Series – Chapter 2: Stay (Faraway, So Close) using tools built right into Webex Teams

For a workshop or classroom, one would often have reserved a main office room and then a series of breakout rooms nearby for different groups or teams that could go off, collaborate on their particular objective and then come back to the main group to share, discuss, etc.   

However, the problem with most video conferencing and messaging tools are that they were designed around a particular meeting or topic and not necessarily for the project or workshop which could last a day, a week or longer.  Also, many times a group would need to meet “offline”, not with the greater group, to work an idea or process and then come back to the larger group later.  Webex Teams is great to solve these types of use cases which, at Cisco, is often a primary means for how we get work done across multiple teams with our partners, contractors and customers in many cases. 

Create a purpose

First, think about the workshop you want to run.  The workshop may have a theme, a small team of moderators to facilitate the event and members or participants that would need to be involved in the event.  Get familiar with Roles within Webex Teams and how these roles impact the event. 

For each Team you create, a General Room is automatically created in Webex Teams to use for topics, discussions, meetings that pertain to the group as a whole, like a general-purpose room. Next, each space that is linked to that Team is now its own collaboration space with a unique virtual meeting link, whiteboards, messaging, content share, etc all in one place. Creating a team in webex teams

 

Next, the organization of the event, just like the in-person event, would have breakout rooms, workstreams or spaces where each group in the workshop would go and collaborate together.  For each Team you create, a General Room is automatically created in Webex Teams to use for topics, discussions, meetings that pertain to the group as a whole, like a general-purpose room.  Next, each space that is linked to that Team is now its own collaboration space with a unique virtual meeting link, whiteboards, messaging, content share, etc all in one place.

Here is an example of a Space Meeting Information (join URL, video address and dial in information for any type of user): 

Space meeting information. Screen to schedule a meeting, copy and paste the meeting information, and people's email address into your calendar invite.png

Stay in sync 

The best part of this setup within Webex Teams is, especially with remote teams, everyone can get engaged and stay engaged. When you are in an office setting its really easy to walk down the hallway and see where everyone is meeting/connecting just by looking in the rooms.  However, when you are remote this can be very challenging as the physical room is not available.   

With Webex Teams, you are able to recreate that experience in the physical world but virtually. Each room /space now is represented in the Webex Teams client. So you can see in real time who is in the room and who is meeting which helps keep your team engagedWith Webex Teams, you are able to recreate that experience in the physical world.  Each room /space now is represented in the Webex Teams client.  So, you can see in real time who is in the room and who is meeting which helps keep your team engaged.

Participants

You are probably asking then, “…what happens when you eventually go back into the office, are you able to use Webex Teams then for that same type of experience? Answer, yes.

When the Webex Rooms are in your physical location (say in all of your meeting rooms), the rooms now can autosense the people.  In the example to the right, I am in a meeting connected wirelessly to a Webex Board and now everyone that is invited to the Webex Team space can see me associated to the physical room as well as the virtual room.  This also holds true for all of the content and whiteboards you share in the virtual room now can be part of the physical room as well bringing a whole new meaning to business continuity.   

Get started

At Cisco, we use this Teams framework for all sorts of use cases, here are some examples that can help you get started:Creativity Workshop

  • Company Wide Event Planning
  • Customer/Partner Strategy Workshops
  • Developer Hackathons 
  • Virtual Training Delivery  
  • Community Engagement / Outreach 
  • Multi Topic FAQs and “Ask” Rooms 
  • Marketing Outreach / Planning 

I hope that with some of these examples, provides some inspiration on how to build a virtual collaboration team that is both productive and engaging.  

Stay tuned for the next blog post: Chapter 3: Teams Whiteboards: No Line in the Horizon and make sure to stay connected with all the blogs in the series here.

Partner with Cisco and have a true global reach

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Creating digital teams in Webex Teams series

The “Creating Digital Teams in Webex Teams” series we will spotlight techniques in managing and inspiring remote and #WFH teams.  Learn how the Webex Platform and Webex Teams can help transform your team into an engaged, creative and productive no matter if people are across the hall, town or globe.

Managing a digital team using Webex Teams

As a people manager at Cisco, I manage a team spread across multiple time zones and countries.  There are many #WFH resources out there these days but for this series of blogs I thought I would focus on how to build and manage digital team using the Webex Platform with Webex Teams. 

Connecting your team  

First, what is Webex Teams?  Webex Teams is what I consider my collaboration “nerve center” where all of the people I work with, the apps I use, and the meetings/tasks/workflows associated to getting work done are located.  Its where all of the activities before, during and after meetings can live, and, if done right, you can shorten your meetings and maybe not have as many meetings throughout your day but everyone can be on the same page regardless where they are located.  Here are just a few pointers to get you started. 

Get some space 

Go here and learn about and setup your Webex Teams account.  Next, you will need some Space.  Yes, everyone needs a little space.  A space in Webex Teams is like a virtual huddle room you can have with 1 to as many people as you want where you can message each other, share files, co edit files you have in OneDrive and Google, post pictures, GIFs, and capture all of the activities before, during and after a meeting on Webex.  At Cisco, we use Microsoft OneDrive, Sharepoint and Smartsheet a lot and within Webex Teams it brings everyone’s ability to co create content, materials and projects in a much more efficient manner.  (screen shot of ecm integration or video link) 

Create a space and a meeting in one step 

As a best practice I setup a space in Teams, in this case “Joshua Tree Project”( highlighted in a yellow box in the picture), that could be about a particular topic/idea/outcome with a group of people (which could include partners and suppliers – notice the external user in the invite) and schedule the initial meeting in just a one step process.   

calendar creation graphic that reads "Joshua Tree Project" with an image of a black and white joshua tree

If you have Calendar services enabled with Webex Teams you can create a Webex Teams space automatically from your meeting calendar invites from Outlook or Google:
1.  Create a meeting invite in Outlook / Google and invite the people you want to the meeting
2.  In the location field, type in @webex:space 
3.  Hit Send.   

Then, auto”magically” your Webex Teams space will have all of your participants and meeting title as the name of the space.  That’s it, chat, message, call, meet, share with your team. 

Create a space and meeting in one step. Image of Calendar services enabled with Webex Teams

Create a virtual watercooler with your team (internal and/or external members) 

In this time of uncertainty, people are feeling isolated at times and that can cause stress and anxiety.  To help bring a sense of community and togetherness, at Cisco we have leveraged Webex Teams to create “Ask Rooms”.  An Ask Room is just like a virtual watercooler in your office.  People can post messages, questions and others can respond with reactions, answers etc.  At Cisco we have found the level of engagement in these rooms is pretty high and people love to keep in touch with each other.  And better yet, create an ASK space with your customers/partners too, you will be surprised how much a little TLC can go!  As a customer and partner obsessed organization, we on average have 30-40% of our spaces with external, outside of Cisco, participants.  This helps diversify our community and accelerates new ideas.   

Simply create a space with a topic that you feel would have a wide audience, invite people to it and invite the EURL bot (eurl@webex.bot) to help provide a URL link for users in your company to discover and join by sharing the link on an intranet page or email.   For smaller groups, you can create a Team within Webex Teams and add people as members, then as you add more Ask spaces, everyone will get invited and aware of the space.   

Ask COVID-10 Collab

If you have a watercooler type room with your immediate team, keep things light.  On my team we often share pictures from our weekends, family event and we even have a goat farmer in the tribe that keeps us updated on best practices in raising goats (and yes, I mean real goats). 

Be genuine and be yourself 

In work, as in the rest of our lives, being recognized is just an important as the work itself and having each other’s back is important.  This idea is even more with working remote where giving the extra pat on the back or seeing someone in the hallway and letting them know you appreciate what they did doesn’t happen easily when everyone is virtual. 

Within Webex Teams we have the ability for people to add GIFs and reactions to messages within context along with notification of who left the reaction etc.  Keeping things light within the Team is important these days, don’t you agree?  (pic of reactions in teams, thumbs up, celebration emoji etc).

Keeping things light within the Team is important these days, don’t you agree? (pic of reactions in teams, thumbs up, celebration emoji etc)

 

Stay active, have fun 

It can be really hard to balance communicating to others if you are available or not and where you could be located at any one time.  Many times, I am in a meeting or sharing my desktop or other times I need some quiet time to get some work.   The problem that occurs is then people start messaging/interrupting/calling it can be really difficult to get anything done.  This is where Webex Team’s presence really shines.

Webex Teams can automatically show if you are away from your app, if you are in a Webex meeting, sharing your desktop and even on a phone call.  Secondly as a user I can create custom statuses (screen shot below) to my community so they know either where I am located, if I need some quiet time or if there is an important message I want them to know.  For me personally this has brought much needed balance back into my workday as I can feel connected to the team and vice versa without having to sacrifice my mental well being. 

Webex Teams can automatically show if you are away from your app, if you are in a Webex meeting,

Well, that’s a few pointers for now.  The next blog post will be Chapter 2: Stay (Faraway, So Close) covering co creation tools built right into Webex Teams. 

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Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

Working smarter: Managing a remote team

Welcome to my virtual office — Webex Teams and my workstreams

 

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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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working smarter anywhere - working remotely
Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely
Just because you aren’t in the same room, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great face-to-face meeting experience. In a physical conference room, you would be able to see each other, write notes, talk, share content and use a whiteboard.  You have the virtual equivalent of all those activities, in Webex.
Here are ways you can ensure you’re set up for success when working remotely:

Check your background 

Dedicate a space in your home that’s ergonomic, comfortable and productive. Avoid or remove any clutter in the background that can distract others in a meeting. Try facing a window for natural light, or have a lamp nearby, so your team can clearly see you on video.  

Minimize meeting distractions. 

Some background noise is inevitable in our homes.  Even with doors closed, the best way to keep noises from distracting others on the call is by putting yourself on mute when you’re not talking.  If you need to – ask for a moment to address the source of the noise so that you can keep their focus on you.   
 

Get headset up for success!  

Being on mute still won’t stop noises from your own surroundings distracting you.  Investing in noise cancelling headphones or a headset is a great way for you to keep focused on the task at hand.  Ask your IT team about options for headsets at your company. 
 Investing in noise cancelling headphones or a headset is a great way for you to keep focused on the task at hand. Ask your IT team about options for headsets at your company.

Take care of you. 

Being in the office gives teams cues to get coffee together and take breaks.  Without in-person social interaction, it’s easy for hours to pass without taking the same breaks you may in an office. Take regular moments to stretch out your body and schedule in virtual coffee chats with team members in between meetings.  
 

Vulnerable video 

In person, people are automatically engaged as they can see your reactions.  Sharing video can be intimidating at first, but your team will soon get used to sharing video in engaging, interactive remote discussions.  Be brave and turn on video in every meeting.  
Sharing video can be intimidating at first, but your team will soon get used to sharing video in engaging, interactive remote discussions. Be brave and turn on video in every meeting.
 

Need to tap a colleague on the shoulder?  Start with 1:1 chat.  

In an office, getting a question answered starts with looking around to check who is free. Setting a custom status lets people know what you’re up to, for example: “Out for lunch 🍽️.”  You can check your colleague’s availability easily in Webex Teams.  Even if your colleague is in an active call – a conversation can still start by messaging in a 1:1 space. If you need to escalate to a live call, simply click the green call icon in Webex Teams or share your Personal Meeting Room (PMR) details with them.  
  

The Team Huddle:   

Just like ad-hoc in-person team meetings gather everyone who may be free at once in a physical location, calling a space in Webex Teams virtually connects your team by calling them on any device at once.  In Webex Meetings, your Personal meeting room (PMR) is just like your in-person office desk.  The URL stays the same so you can easily share it, allowing your team to join your virtual room in an instant.    
 

Sharing is caring  

Maintaining attention in a virtual meeting is no different than in person.  Sharing your screen or presentation and using annotation on your content helps remote participant stay engaged and follow your points.
  

Ideas on the fly 

Just like in a physical office – sharing ideas on a whiteboard is a key part of working together.  In a virtual meeting,  it is even better!  In real life, you risk a white board being erased or written over.  When you whiteboard virtually, you can feel confident your ideas are saved, and pick up where you left off, by opening any whiteboard you’ve previously created and edit it in real time.  

Express yourself 

When messaging, remember your colleague can’t see your reactions.  If a picture tells a thousand words – then a Gif is a great way to express yourself.  In Webex Teams you can search from thousands of Gifs to find the perfect expression of yourself at any time.      

In Webex Teams you can search from thousands of Gifs to find the perfect expression of yourself at any time.

Let’s Celebrate!

Being remote doesn’t mean you need to change your team culture.  While you may not have a cake to share – you can still celebrate those moments that matter, like birthdays, delivering a project or achieving a goal – virtually!  Turn on your cameras and schedule time to connect as a team over video. take a look at this baby/bridal shower, and costume party
We’ve created a page with more guidance on working remotely at cs.co/webexremotework
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How technology creates better interpersonal connections. In fact, solutions such as video conferencing and team collaboration tools with intelligence features are the most effective for connecting people regardless of their physical locations.
How technology creates better interpersonal connections

Using communication technology to improve relationships

Does technology bring us closer together? It can seem like a weird question to ask, since innovations like VoIP and real-time chat let us more easily connect with friends, co-workers, and others, even over great distances.

But not all technologies are equally effective at forming strong interpersonal connections, which are particularly important in workplace contexts. As more organizations turn to remote and mobile working arrangements, it’s crucial to branch out from the old standbys of email, phone calls, and in-person meetings and invest in alternatives that provide sufficient context and enable rich collaboration from anywhere.

In fact, solutions such as video conferencing and team collaboration tools with intelligence features are the most effective for connecting people regardless of their physical locations. As the 2020s begin, let’s explore some specific examples of how these technologies build connections that last.

Less time commuting, more time to focus on strategic projects

Long commutes have become facts of life for millions of workers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau,* the average Americans’ commute in 2019 is 27 minutes (just one way), up two minutes from 2009. While that may not seem drastic, over the course of a year, it totals 17 extra hours spent in traffic.

What if there were a way to spend less time in traffic or on the train? It would benefit both the environment and worker morale, as lengthy commutes are one of the main detractors from job satisfaction.

Collaboration technologies make it more practical to avoid commuting and instead work from virtually anywhere:

  • With chat apps, you can have a real-time conversation, share files, and search for specific assets from one interface with lots of context.
  • Video conferencing allows for face-to-face meetings even at a distance, in high definition and with sophisticated controls.
  • Cognitive collaboration solutions can pull information from multiple sources (e.g., public social media profiles and CRM data) to create context around any online meeting.

As long as a worker has access to the internet, these collaboration possibilities and others can allow for productive work, with no taxing commute required. Employees can build better working relationships, too, since the tools in question give them clear insights into what others are doing and thinking.

More eye contact and more immersive meetings through video conferencing

Video technology, in particular, is ideal for simulating the experience of being in the same room as the other attendees in an online meeting, even if everyone is actually located somewhere else.

A modern video platform has several key advantages over communicating via audio-only calls or emails and chats:

  • It allows for full visibility into participants’ reactions and body language This insight is useful for understanding how a meeting is really going, and can be especially helpful if there’s a language/culture barrier.
  • It helps curb multitasking Although the word gets a lot of lip service in resumes, multitasking is highly impractical in many contexts, as the brain isn’t that great at listening to a call and typing up an email simultaneously, for example. Video puts people in the spotlight and discourages multitasking, which in turn, increases productivity.
  • It’s usable from multiple devices, not just dedicated standards-based video conferencing systems PCs, Macs, phones, and tablets can all seamlessly join an online video conference with just the tap or click of a button when it’s time for things to start.
  • It’s integrated with other collaboration tech like screen sharing So participants can share their entire screens or desktops, or just a particular app or document as needed, to go in depth while on the video call.
  • It can support a variety of use cases, not just internal meetups For example, a video link could be set up for a webinar, training session, or social media broadcast. Accordingly, the clarity of video can build connections across multiple contexts.

Reducing reliance on emails and phone calls

Both email and traditional voice calls often leave a lot to be desired, in terms of how personal they feel as well as how effective they are in enhancing productivity.

Checking and digging through an inbox all day is a huge time sink, not to mention a somewhat impersonal way to interact with people – after a while, everyone can feel like just a name next to a message. Phone calls are similarly problematic and somewhat anonymous, although a bit better since you can at least hear what the other person sounds like.

While moving on from email has long been a priority for many workers and their organizations, only recently has doing so become really practical. Chat apps provide strong alternatives to rifling through emails or setting aside lots of time for phone calls. Messages can be exchanged in real time, so there’s not the delay of email. Plus, files can easily be shared in the conversation, while built-in search makes it straightforward to find what’s needed.

Workplace chat can work well in tandem with video conferencing, too, so that every meeting is set up for success and can be properly followed-up on. Cisco Webex provides the integrated collaboration capabilities, from video to AI-driven meetings, that your organization needs to ensure strong interpersonal connections between your teams.

To learn more, get started with a free Webex plan today.

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