Cisco's Hybrid Work Index shows just half of people speak in meetings

If it feels like all of your videoconferences aren't adding up to real collaboration, you may be onto something.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Eighteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, just about everyone who works in front of a screen has experienced some degree of "Zoom fatigue." What's worse, all of those videoconferences don't always add up to true collaboration, a new study confirms. 

According to Cisco's new Hybrid Work Index, more than 61 million meetings take place globally every month. Yet, in any one of them, only 48% of participants are likely to speak. The lack of participation speaks to the need for a broader range of collaboration tools, including the sort of asynchronous meeting products that vendors like Cisco, Slack and Zoom are rolling out. 

The Hybrid Work Index, which Cisco plans to release quarterly, draws on millions of aggregated and anonymized customer data points from Cisco's collaboration (Webex), networking (Meraki), internet visibility (ThousandEyes) and security (Talos, Duo, Umbrella) platforms. The data is supplemented by third-party research surveying over 39,000 respondents across 34 countries. It's designed to provide insights into people's preferences, habits and technology usage. 

The Index also found that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of workers have started calling into meetings using mobile devices. In pre-pandemic times, people connected to meetings with a mobile device 9% of the time compared to 27% now. That kind of participation has implications for participation and inclusion but also for security. 

Meanwhile, the number of devices connected to office-based wifi grew by 61% in comparison to six months ago. This growth was led by the higher education, professional services and hospitality industries.

Some industries, of course, have less flexibility in terms of where staff is located. Overall, however, workers are skeptical about their employees' hybrid work policies. As many as 64% said the ability to work remotely directly affects whether they stay or leave a job. Yet only 47% think that their company will provide the flexibility to work from anywhere over the next six to 12 months.

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