Cisco report reveals forward-looking lessons for IT and business leaders

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New Cisco-commissioned research issued reveals forward-looking lessons for IT and business leaders as they navigate their return to office strategies. The findings are covered in a report, “A New Perspective on the Modern Workplace”.

The research upon which the report is based was designed and executed by IT industry analyst firm Freeform Dynamics. Input was gathered via three separate, but linked, studies spanning the pre-pandemic to mid-pandemic period (late 2019 to May/June 2020).

While much has been written about the immediate pandemic-related challenges, it’s important to apply the lessons learned as many begin rolling out return to work strategies. With this in mind, the report covers six specific lessons that have emerged from the data gathered from COVID-19 experiences. The lessons highlight particular changes in mindset, attitude, direction, and behavior that will be particularly important.

Key Findings:

– 74% said their business will in some ways emerge stronger from the crisis.
While the first half of 2020 was among one of the most tumultuous times in modern history, nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: Despite the challenges, our business will emerge stronger in some areas from the current crisis. This optimism is indicative of the ingenuity and innovation organizations have shown. It has been incredible to see how many initiatives around digital transformation and other forms of modernization scheduled for the medium to long-term, or deferred because of other competing priorities, have been accelerated.

– Respondents say flexibility is here to stay, and it will benefit organizations as well as employees. Almost half (49%) of respondents indicated that flexible working hours are here to stay. And when it comes to hiring, 50% of our survey respondents said increased remote work would lead to a more inclusive and extended talent pool. Businesses are realizing that work can happen anywhere, productivity isn’t lost, and an expanded talent pool will enable stronger and more capable work teams.

– The vast majority of managers said they have increased their emphasis on employee wellbeing and work-life balance.
Nearly 9 out of 10 managers (87%) who responded to the survey said that as a result of the pandemic they increased emphasis on employee wellbeing and work-life balance. Of those managers reporting the increased emphasis, nearly half (47%) said they see this being maintained over the long term.

Study participants said they viewed the pandemic as a catalyst for major change. This newfound focus and priority on health and wellbeing is a silver-lining during what is otherwise a sobering period of time. The obvious question remains as to whether this mindset shift can withstand the test of time, but participants were optimistic that workplace culture is transforming in the right direction.


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