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The CISCO report includes forward-looking insights for executives who are concerned with strategies for returning to offices

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  • The report includes six business, technology, and culture lessons for IT leaders.

  • The results show that despite the many challenges facing businesses worldwide, 74% said their business will grow stronger.

India, July 23, 2020 – A new study commissioned by Cisco, published today, shows forward-looking lessons for IT and business leaders in managing their return to office strategies. The results are dealt with in a report “A New Perspective on the Modern Workplace”.

The study underlying the report was designed and carried out by IT industry analyst company Freeform Dynamics. The input was collected through three separate but linked studies spanning the period before the pandemic to the middle of the pandemic (late 2019 to May / June 2020).

Although much has been written about the immediate challenges associated with pandemics, it is important to apply the lessons learned as many begin to implement strategies for returning to work. With this in mind, the report covers six specific lessons learned from the data from the experience with COVID-19. The lessons highlight certain changes in mindset, attitude, direction, and behavior that are particularly important.

Main results:

– 74% indicated that their business will emerge stronger from the crisis in some ways.
While the first half of 2020 was one of the most turbulent times in modern history, almost three quarters of those questioned agreed or agreed with the statement: Despite the challenges, our business will emerge stronger from the current crisis in some areas. This optimism shows the ingenuity and the innovation organizations. It was incredible to see how many digital transformation and other modernization initiatives that were planned in the medium to long term or postponed due to other competing priorities were accelerated.

– Respondents say flexibility remains intact and benefits both organizations and employees. Almost half (49%) of the respondents indicated that flexible working hours remain. When hiring, 50% of our respondents indicated that increased remote work would lead to a broader and expanded talent pool. Companies recognize that work can take place anywhere, productivity is not lost, and an expanded talent pool enables stronger and more efficient work teams.

– The vast majority of managers stated that they placed greater emphasis on the well-being of employees and the compatibility of work and family.
Almost 9 out of 10 managers (87%) who took part in the survey said that the pandemic made them more concerned with employee wellbeing and work-life balance. Almost half (47%) of the managers who report the increased emphasis say that this will be maintained in the long term.

The study participants stated that they viewed the pandemic as a catalyst for major changes. This newly discovered focus and priority on health and well-being are a silver lining in an otherwise sobering time. The obvious question remains whether this change in mindset can withstand the test of time, but participants were optimistic that the work culture would change in the right direction.

The participants said:

  • Empathy is so important, and you can definitely see that more now.

  • Some of my employees have been working on their bed with their legs crossed for weeks. It is difficult to reconcile results with your comfort, but we need kindness and understanding at this time.

  • We are human first. I think there is more emphasis on individual health and mindfulness.

“From a business agility and resilience perspective, it is important that we learn from this experience quickly and adapt,” said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of marketing for the Cisco Collaboration Group. “You never know when to pan, and we’ve seen technology like Webex play a key role.”

About research

The research results identified in this news bulletin and related report were designed and carried out as three separate but interrelated studies. The first was a global research study (13 countries, 8 industries) that interviewed 1,500 executives about job transformation. In addition, this study (completed in February 2020) was published separately in the form of a report entitled “Safe and effective work at home” and an online tool for assessing maturity at https://futureofwork.webex.com/maturity-calculator/. In May / June 2020, 100 of the participants in the original study were recalled to ask about their experiences and lessons from their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, 10 in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with managers on the same topic, in which they could express their thoughts and feelings in their own words. The “participant quotes” included in the message notification and report come from these discussions.

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