Multinational networking hardware solutions company Cisco has been conducting numerous studies related to the change created by the shift to remote work during the pandemic period.
Its Future of Work research, joined by over 10,000 employees from North America, Europe, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR), suggests workers want many of the conditions that have emerged in the way of working to continue.
Of those surveyed, some 87% want to own more control in determining how and when to use office spaces, according to Cisco Turkey General Manager Didem Duru.
“It shows that a mixed approach and ongoing digital workplace transformation is the best strategy in the long run. In the future of business, every employee will be a hybrid, and they will gain the same experience, whether they work at home or in the office,” Duru said.
She noted the company recently also published results of the first Hybrid Work Index (HWI), a study based on millions of aggregated and anonymous customer data points.
The index provides global information on employee preferences and technology used during the hybrid work period. Set to be updated quarterly, it examines how people’s habits and technology interactions have permanently reshaped work a year and a half into the coronavirus pandemic.
“More than 61 million meetings take place globally every month via Cisco Webex. The number of mobile meetings skyrocketed by 300% during the pandemic. Around 64% of respondents agree that the ability to work remotely instead of coming into an office directly affects whether they stay or leave a job. On the other hand, there is also uncertainty whether employers will realize the potential of hybrid work. Only 47% think that their company will allow working from anywhere over the next six months to a year,” Duru explained.
All this information, she noted, shows that hybrid work environments are permanent, and in most cases, employees have an expectation in this direction.
“With highly distributed teams, cybersecurity is now becoming more important than ever. Employees need to be protected on every device, from wherever they choose to work. This means investing in secure collaboration solutions such as Webex for file sharing and communication, as well as training the workforce on how to conduct responsible online interactions,” she added.
To provide a solid first line of defense against potential threats, companies must place security at the center of their functioning, according to Duru.
“In Turkey, we see that businesses are using more and more tools that feature artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict threats in advance, learn from them, and reduce negative effects. A new ‘era’ has begun in many areas that touch our lives, from business, education and health to banking and public services, and security, cloud systems, software and service are coming to the fore in the new era,” she explained.
The hybrid work period has brought security to the forefront for companies, according to Duru.
“Because employees had to do their jobs by connecting remotely to company networks. The same needs have created similar requirements in educational, health and even official service institutions. At Cisco, we have developed network security and cloud systems in such a way that our services meet the requirements of current conditions or even go further in accordance with software-defined policies. At the very beginning of what companies need to do in this process, in addition to updating and even transforming their infrastructure, they need to have robust and secure equipment to meet remote work and remote service demands,” she said.