Cisco sets hybrid work plan with no mandates for time in office

For Cisco, its hybrid approach to work is also a selling point on multiple fronts.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Cisco Systems said it would roll out a hybrid working plan that has no mandates for how often employees go into the office.

The networking giant said its employee base was familiar with working hybrid and remote and expects that less than a quarter of its workforce will want to be in an office three or more days a week going forward. Before the COVID-19 pandemic about half of Cisco's employees, were in the office four to five days a week.

Cisco said it would leave it up to teams to determine the best way to work and how often they go to the office.

For Cisco, its hybrid approach to work is also a selling point. The company makes WebEx, a collaboration platform, as well as the infrastructure needed to power networks and enterprises. In addition, Cisco can use its hybrid approach to recruit talent.

In a blog post, Fran Katsoudas, Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer of Cisco, said the purpose of physical space must change. Offices will be retooled to be centers of collaboration and purpose. Katsoudas added that the hybrid work approach would also help the company meet its sustainability goals.

Todd Nightingale, general manager of Cisco's enterprise networking and cloud business, said the company's culture has revolved around hybrid work before COVID-19 and there are a few technology issues that need to be ironed out.

For instance, Cisco has used its own WebEx as a collaboration suite and networking for secure access has to be in place. In addition, wireless connectivity will be key in the new normal at the office, which will revolve around meetings.

"Hybrid work changes the way you look at tooling because it has to account for home and office," said Nightingale.

Automation will also become key to agility for technology teams. Nightingale said, "technology groups are stretching for some more flexible version of work."

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