The path back to the full reopening of markets and business operations is complex and continuously evolving. For example, in Australia, we see differences in federal and state policies. Each one is tailored to its unique needs, all from state to state and federal policy aimed at ‘jump starting’ economic activity by encouraging the workforce to return to the workplace. In Singapore, a phased reopening of workplaces with polices to balance the risk and opportunity and in India, we see an economy adapting to an extended period of remote operations.

However, one thing that all government and business leaders have in common is to put people and their safety first. Hybrid workstyles and workplaces can achieve both goals.

  • Employees want hybrid work styles. In soon to be released Cisco research surveying knowledge workers and managers across the Asia Pacific region, it’s been identified that “70% of those surveyed want to maintain the autonomy they experienced during the pandemic lockdown.” This doesn’t indicate a desire to be permanently working from home but rather, it’s a clear statement that employees want a ‘hybrid work style’ that leverages both remote working and face to face collaboration at a corporate office.
  • Hybrid workplaces allow for social distancing without investing in additional real estate. By adopting hybrid work arrangements, leaders can also ensure the safety of the employees who choose to return to the office as it will allow for social distancing when there are less employees in the office at any one time, compared to before the pandemic.

Cisco have embraced hybrid working for years, enabled by our very own collaboration technology – Webex. As we start to see employees return back to the physical office spaces, we have been looking at how we can continue to innovate to not only provide a seamless experience in a hybrid work model and also opportunities to further enhance the physical spaces we use to allow for more effective social distancing measures to be implemented where appropriate.

With a strong team of visionaries who are also great with execution, we have made many enhancements to Webex, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), to optimize the office for safety and productivity. Features added to Webex Room devices that are already in our office, such as touchless join, voice-activated AI assistant for meeting and device controls, as well as room capacity and room cleaning macros, help employees navigate through meetings and collaborate safely in the office. The pervasive Collaboration technology available throughout our office also means that every meeting can take place regardless who is in the office or not.

See all this in action as we take you on a 7-minute virtual tour of our Cisco Singapore office:

These innovations are part of the Cisco Webex blueprint for the hybrid workplace to engage your team, whether they are remote or in the office. This week, we’ve announced even more exciting AI innovations to make remote work 10x better and enable a safe return to the office, including noise removal technology, more environmental sensors in Webex devices that support actionable workplace analytics, and a new ‘smart’ room booking experience that doubles up as a control panel for your meeting, lights, room temperature and more.