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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 ...

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

As for negative impact...the one thing we try to be aware of is to ensure there is sufficient face time so that we retain our culture, especially with new hires.

2:49

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Glenn, these teams are no different from any other management teams. All have to move together as an organization.

2:49

[Comment From Sarah Anderson ]

A lot of people would argue that social media goes hand-in-hand with flexible work, due to the increase in off-hours communication. What are your thoughts on the use of social media as part of the future of work?

2:51

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

It's a reality. Work and life are quickly becoming integrated. We all switch from being business professionals to regular people and back again throughout our days. We recognize that at Cisco and allow people to do what they need to do. We also understand the power of social media and have our own business tool called the Integrated Workforce Experience that almost looks like a Facebook page.

2:52

Niamh O'Doherty - Do you think this constant integration leaves employees at risk of burn-out, Nitin?

2:52

Niamh O'Doherty - Readers, what do you think?

2:53

[Comment From Jacqueline Sloboda ]

Absolutely not! Happy Employees who are able to balance work and life as well are productive, loyal and healthier! Good for Cisco Canada.

2:54

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Yes. Now it comes down to each individual and our ability to manage our time and our lives. Our tools are always available, but doesn't mean you must constantly use them that way. Work/life balance is still important, obviously. To me, it means being able to attend school and athletic activities that my kids participate in and also get my work done. It means being able to work anywhere and anytime from among my many devices that I use.

2:55

[Comment From Glenn Dirks ]

Like many 'tools' I believe employees will make their own decisions on how and when to engage, but do agree associated coaching or training would be helpful.

2:56

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Absolutely, Glenn. We're asking employees to change habits and business processes. Anything we can do to accelerate that must be done.

2:57

[Comment From Sarah Anderson ]

Good points everyone. I'd add that our companies can provide us with these tools but it is up to us to manage our time effectively.

2:58

Niamh O'Doherty - Nitin, when it comes to organizing a flexible working initiative at your office, how should one go about it? Is it most important to get buy-in from senior management, for example?

3:00

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

I think it has to be part of a company's strategy. Clearly, buy in from senior managment is critical. But as employees we can set the stage by choosing a business process and demonstrate how collaborative and remote working can help the company. It's a great way to get the ball rolling...and achieve the confidence of a broader group.

3:00

[Comment From Glenn Dirks ]

Executive endorsement is critical, but equally important is to understand your workforce, their workplace needs, preferences and how they interact with coworkers. Start with data, especially if its from your own organization.

3:02

Niamh O'Doherty - Very interesting. Have you encounter any negative reactions among staff when it comes to a flex-work policy? Readers, what has been your experience?

3:05

[Comment From Sarah Anderson ]

Nitin, in your opinion how has the adoption of teleworking and flexible work been among Canadian businesses?

3:05

[Comment From Nitin Kawale]

Well, from our perspective, we need to be aware of swinging the pendulum too far one way. We watch this carefully. We want to ensure people know one another and work within the culture. So we balance in-person meetings with remote activities. Approximately 65 per cent of our time is spent communicating and collaborating. We know our employees are extremely happy with this approach. An Aon Hewett survey that measures employee engagement and satisfaction ranked Cisco Canada #1 and #2 top employer these last two years, respectively. It's strong validation of our approach and certainly something we are extremely proud of.

3:05

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