Having analyzed millions of customer data points across 34 countries, Cisco released its first Hybrid Work Index (HWI). The HWI examines how people’s preferences, habits, and technology usage have changed in the era of hybrid work.
The research in the Cisco Hybrid Work Index has a lot of insights for team leaders. This article will look at flexibility, engaged leadership, security, collaboration, and connection among remote workplaces. The data included can help you get and retain talent, increase your competitiveness, and optimize security from any location.
The research uncovered several insights for team leaders. We found the trends in meeting participation patterns especially insightful as they impact how leaders should design their teams’ day-to-day work and collaboration.
People want choice, and the hybrid workplace increases employee loyalty:
64% agree that the ability to work remotely instead of coming into an office directly affects whether they stay or leave a job.
Meetings abound, but not everyone “participates” the same way:
Only 48% of meeting participants are likely to speak.
In addition, 98% of meetings have at least 1 person joining remotely – increasing the need for inclusion and engagement of remote participants, so that they feel equal to their peers on site.
Flexibility and Wellness are key drivers for hybrid work:
An overwhelming majority of respondents agree that personal health and wellness, along with flexible work arrangements, are non-negotiables as we move into the future of hybrid work.
Hybrid work means increased access to diverse talent:
82% of respondents agree that access to connectivity is critical to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance of ensuring everyone has equal access to jobs, education and healthcare opportunities.
People and Culture are Impacted by Flexibility and Engaged Leadership
One of the things that people appreciate most about hybrid work is flexibility. It improves the well-being of employees and their relationships with each other. The Cisco Hybrid Work Index shows the following important statistics about workers who have gone hybrid:
- 73% of workers across the globe are more motivated and happier working remotely.
- 68% say working hours are more fluid and flexible.
- 68% note that team members are more punctual at virtual meetings.
- 61% say their relationships with team members are stronger.
- 60% feel a more serious connection with their organizations.
This indicates that workers want to have a part in choosing when, where, and how they work. Hybrid allows leaders to foster inclusion, choice, and flexibility. To retain workers, leaders must empower and enable workers while ensuring they have a sense of belonging.
Security Is Paramount to Maintaining Trust in a Hybrid Workplace
The Cisco Hybrid Work Index also looks at new security needs in a hybrid workplace. Organizations are now tasked with ensuring all connections are secure no matter where they are. As remote access becomes more in demand, security is scaling to meet that growth. Below are some statistics associated with this:
The number of remote devices protected with Cisco Umbrella has gone up 2.1 times since May 2020.
The usage of remote access and VPN apps protected through Cisco Secure Access by Duo has risen by 2.6 times.
Support and adoption of tools for securing the hybrid workplace have grown over the past two years. In the future, companies must look at work patterns used for authentication off-site and adjust the security to meet the company’s unique needs.
Collaboration Looks Different for Every Hybrid Team
In a hybrid world, collaboration has become more outcome-focused and agile due to the many tools available so workers can be productive in ways that best work for them. Many of these tools help create results on any device in any location. A few important statistics from the Cisco Hybrid Work Index are included below and span the last six months:
- 231% increase in calling using the cloud
- 167% growth in attendees to webinars
- 467% increase in meetings using closed caption
- 164% increase in translations used in real-time
- 56% increase in live polling and Q&A participants
Think about collaboration as a way of communication that builds community. Remote teams must use various features to increase participation. It’s essential to be sure everyone can work the way they want when collaborating.
Hybrid Workplaces Require Connection
Finally, the Cisco Hybrid Work Index shows that connections are essential in hybrid environments. As these connections multiply and evolve, the network has to be capable of handling that. Consider that Internet traffic from small and mid-sized businesses is up 40% from 2019, and router traffic is growing even faster than in larger organizations.
Organizations must have networks in place to handle the added physical and digital needs of those who come into the office. Security measures and sufficient bandwidth must work with traffic from both home and office workers. All of these things combined give great insights into what to prioritize moving forward in a largely hybrid world.
Hybrid work has changed how teams collaborate and stay connected to win together. Modern leaders utilize new ways to help their teams adopt the new mindset, be flexible, and inclusive.
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Hybrid work requires new norms and skills. Teamraderie’s experience Setting-Up Your Team for Hybrid Work is premised on academic research and designed to help your team navigate hybrid successfully.
The hybrid world has both danger and opportunity for work teams.
The danger is that we become fragmented, out-of-sync, and even distrustful of each other. We’ll succumb to the danger if we stick to the old ways of doing things.
The opportunity is to become more inclusive, connected, adaptive, resilient, innovative, and productive. We’ll take advantage of this opportunity if we learn how to evolve how we collaborate and how we lead.
Stanford University’s Glenn Fajardo will lead your team through two exercises – one to capture your discoveries on improved ways of working enabled by remote work, and a second exercise that builds on that to establish an effective way for working together.