Cisco's collaborative workplace FEATURE
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Sleek modern design meets network capabilities and walking robots in Cisco’s refurbished headquarters.

Walking throughout the halls of Cisco’s Building 10 in San Jose, California, one might stumble across a telepresence robot. This self-roaming robot is equipped with a large screen as a head that allows people from across the world to connect to Building 10 via live video.

As they traverse the shiny white and blue building, visitors may notice the intelligent kiosks, standing desks, and Power-over-Ethernet LED lighting.  

I want Cisco to be viewed as having the most innovative employee experience in technology or in corporate America - Chuck Robbins

 

Cisco has long been known for its technological advances, and the company’s new Building 10 headquarters is no exception. Through blending the physical and virtual work environments with leading tech, Building 10 highlights and celebrates the people working in the environments themselves. And these employees are exactly who Cisco looks to drive the future of the workspace. 

After taking over as Cisco’s new CEO, Chuck Robbins spoke about wanting to transform the workplace experience.

“I want Cisco to be viewed as having the most innovative employee experience in technology or in corporate America,” says Robbins.

This goal manifests in the company’s People Deal, a mission set by Cisco to shape and enhance employee experience. The People Deal, created from employee feedback, seeks to highlight and support Cisco’s workforce. By focusing on everything from new tech, to maternity leave, to food services and more, the People Deal says technology isn’t at the center of innovation, people are.

And the incorporation of new technology in Building 10 only works to bring employees together in collaboration—exemplifying the idea that the answers don’t just come from technology, it comes from people.

Mark Miller, who is a manager within Cisco’s Worldwide Collaboration Sales team, states that above all, Building 10 should be observed as people-centric.

“It’s about driving employee engagement, it’s about driving innovation, it’s about people,” says Miller. “This is a people discussion, not a financial discussion. It’s about how important the workplace is for this company.”

Alan McGinty, Senior Director of Global Workplace Innovation, directed the design and delivery of the new headquarters project.

"We had the challenge to deliver a facility that projected Cisco's position as the number 1 IT company,” says McGinty. “This space needed to express the Cisco brand through design elements, pervasive technology integration, an upgraded Customer Experience Center, and the most technologically advanced boardroom experience in the world. We met that challenge."

Cisco Building 10 certainly takes boardrooms and telepresence technology to a whole new level—with an entire wall of the room operating as a dedicated video screen.

Cisco Building 10 Boardroom

The technologies implemented into Building 10 were created specifically to encourage employee interaction, thus sparking the seeds of innovation not previously imaginable. Amongst the sleek interior design of shiny white and blue décor is the network running through corners and walls to support new tech like connected lighting, sensor technology, and Smart Spaces.

Smart Spaces is a Cisco developed space management solution that can be accessed through a kiosk, mobile app, or desktop. Smart Spaces allows an employee to identify, reserve and locate a workspace setting that is most appropriate for the work activities they are looking to perform.  Once the workspace is selected, the solution automatically configures the space to the individual preferences of the employee.

“The next-gen work environment needs to revolve around flexibility, personalization and choice,” says Miller, “Having both workplace policies and tools, like Smart Spaces, in place to ensure this happens is absolutely critical. In addition, we find that our employees are much more mobile within the new work environment, working in a variety of different spaces throughout the day. The employee locate feature within Smart Spaces ensures that our employees can find their co-workers easily and efficiently.”

Cisco Building 10 open floorplan

The co-working space is among the top driving tech trends that Cisco aims to follow in transforming the workplace. Other trends include changing workplace demographics, use of contingent workers, and flexible work environments.

"The Cisco Connected Workplace deploys a wide variety of space types to support the different work needs employees display through any given day,” says McGinty, “Open, collaborative space, quiet rooms. Creativity Zones, outdoor meeting areas, eCafes, residential soft seating areas are all provided and equipped with ubiquitous high speed wireless connectivity and video everywhere.  Our people can work anywhere, on any device at any time. Technology is driving our space design now and into the future."

Building 10 has been outfitted with video capabilities in order to reach employees around the globe. Each meeting room is armed with the audio and video needs of each employee to connect in meetings via telepresence.

Cisco Building 10 Telepresence

Trends continue to change, and the nature of work is in constant state of flux. The technology Cisco has incorporated in Building 10 and its worldwide offices are prepared for the impact that change will have.

“We are aligning space, technology, and workplace policies,” says Miller, “We are consolidating and transforming our workplaces. We are creating a workplace that can quickly adapt to the needs of the business.”

The workplace design is fundamentally prepared for the future of Cisco and its employees. Gorgeous and modern interior design will make Building 10 occupants and visitors comfortable, while front line technology assures that Cisco’s driving force is and will be innovation.

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About Stephanie Chan

Stephanie Ellen Chan is the Editorial and Video Producer at Cisco. She has a passion for writing about the intersection of culture, media, art, and technology.