In 2020, Australian employers rushed to deploy technologies to make remote work possible. What should they be thinking about next when it comes to hybrid working?
We put that question to Ben Dawson, Vice President of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, who argues that leaders should now be turning their attention to how hybrid work can set their businesses apart. He explains how, and the ways businesses could benefit, in a new iTnews podcast (at the bottom of this article).
“There's a real opportunity here for business leaders to shift from a ‘keep the lights on’ approach to hybrid working, to truly looking at it as a source of competitive advantage and competitive differentiation,” Dawson says.
“If done well, hybrid work can boost productivity, it can give us an opportunity to engage employees in a different and many cases better way, and also support our customers and stakeholders more effectively,” he says.
Dawson also thinks hybrid work environments will be a factor in attracting and retaining employees: “employees are going to want to understand what organisations offer in terms of that flexible work environment,” he predicts.
We asked him what he thinks makes a successful hybrid working environment. He identifies three ingredients: having the right tools so that employees can interact securely in a way they see fit; making it possible for employees to contribute equally no matter where they are located; and leadership that creates a culture supportive of hybrid work.
“The aspiration, from my perspective, for a successful hybrid workplace, is really allowing people to bring their best irrespective of how they choose or how they're able to work with an organisation,” he says.
Cisco is striving to enable that through “trusted hybrid workplaces”, which are underpinned by technical and non-technical factors – from consistent, reliable networking and consistent cybersecurity experiences to organisational agility and inclusive culture.
That requires business leaders to see hybrid working as more than an issue for IT departments. “[There is a need for] greater leadership around creating a culture that’s supportive of hybrid work,” Dawson says.
Cisco has pledged to positively impact one billion people by 2025, embracing the transformative power of technology to create a more inclusive world. To learn more about this pledge head to cisco.com.au/bridgetopossible.