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As many companies downsize their pricey corporate real estate, an increasing number of Canadians are shifting from a busy office environment to working from home for all or part of their week. (Getty Images/Bonnie Jacobs)
As many companies downsize their pricey corporate real estate, an increasing number of Canadians are shifting from a busy office environment to working from home for all or part of their week. (Getty Images/Bonnie Jacobs)

Earlier discussion

How to make flexible work options work for you Add to ...

Niamh O'Doherty - Readers, do feel free to share any questions you might have, too.

2:34

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

As for you next question...absolutely. Our goal at Cisco Canada is to grow our productivity 15 per cent each year. We consistently achieve that. I'm confident that the way we work is the reason. Our employees say they're more productive and are much happier in their jobs, as they are able to balance their work/life integration.

2:35

[Comment From Sarah Anderson ]

Hi Nitin, can you give us an indication of how Cisco is utilizing the technologies you are talking about in its own organization, and what you recommend as the first steps for a company just starting on this path?

2:37

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Our collaborative environment spans many integrated technologies...everything from WebEx to telepresence, our own internal social media sites, our show and share (youtube-type site) and much, much more. What's important is to understand your business processes and try to figure out how to deconstruct then reconstruct them in a fashion that utilizes collaborative tools. My advice for starting out is to begin with one process...and prove it out.

2:38

[Comment From Robyn Bews ]

I promote flexible work for a living and see firsthand the resistance... do you think trust is the primary impediment? (I do) or is there something else that is making the adoption so slow? Thanks

2:39

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Trust yes. But that's only part of it. Change is frightening and difficult. The ways we've worked in the past served us well. To perhaps bend your thought somewhat, I believe the major issue may be the courage of management to drive important change. Today, they have a choice. Tomorrow will be another story.

2:40

[Comment From Sam Ottil ]

Did Cisco have to change the way employees are evaluated or how managers view the performance evaluation process as you adopted the teleworking culture ?

2:41

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Not really, Sam. We are a result-driven organization. That's where we focus. We're less concerned with how and more concerned with the end result.

2:41

[Comment From Robyn Bews ]

how do you measure the "productivity" of a knowledge workforce?

2:42

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

it's simple - revenue per employee. That's how we do it and how I look at it. You can overthink these things.

2:42

[Comment From Jacqueline Sloboda ]

That's an admirable percentage of your staff that works outside of regular business hours. What type of skills do your hiring managers look for when seeking hirees capable of working with less over the shoulder supervision?

2:43

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Great question! We look for team players that are comfortable leading and following. They need to be results rather than activity driven. Most importantly, they must have a cultural fit.

2:44

[Comment From Glenn Dirks ]

My experience is many organizations are still practicing activity based management. Flexible work by its nature requires they shift to performance based management requiring different skills and behaviors from managers, but many are still not comfortable with that.

2:45

Niamh O'Doherty - Great point Glenn. Flexible working does mean there needs to be a shift in management style...what do you think, Nitin.

2:46

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

You're absolutely right, Glenn. But the next generation of workers - who we will all need based on the demographic challenges of Canada - will demand something completely different.

2:46

Niamh O'Doherty - Does this mean the end of 9-to-5 culture, Nitin? Of course, flexible hours can make it harder to switch off. Have you experienced any negative impact on those working from home?

2:47

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

My advice is to get ahead of the curve. Even if you're uncomforable with it...start experimenting with collaborative and remote working.

2:47

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

What is 9 to 5 culture? I've been at Cisco for 16 years and it's a term I'm not familiar with ....lol

2:48

[Comment From Glenn Dirks ]

What are you thoughts on how well prepared deployment teams (HR, IT RE) are in implementing new flexible work programs. Might there be some resistance from them?

2:48

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