Under the "no return to office" policy, Cisco will not set any top-down mandate for the number of days per week its more than 75,000 employees spend in physical offices. Instead, every employee will be considered a hybrid worker and the company's leadership is encouraging managers to grant workers flexibility in whether they work remotely or in the office.
To be fair, Cisco was losing interest in seeing its workers too often. Before the pandemic, many at Cisco worked from home, with roughly 14 percent of employees working remotely prior to office shutdowns. But now, more than 75 percent of employees say they plan to continue working remotely three to five days per week, even when office entry is possible.
When most employees began working remotely amid COVID-19 outbreaks and mandated shutdowns. However, Cisco managers found that productivity didn't seem to take a hit from remote work, in fact it looks like they were more productive when they didn't have to commute or listen to managers witter on about moving cheese, kicking the ball running or paradigms.
Jeetu Patel, an executive vice president who manages Cisco's security and collaboration business said: "Anecdotally, I would say we've seen a very high degree of productivity. As the productivity has gone up, the thing we have to as a society be careful of is fatigue and burnout."
Cisco's offices across the world will look different when they reopen. Previously, 95 percent of the company's office space was allocated to individual offices, but the company now plans to reconfigure its campuses to prioritise group work and team events.
The move will likely save Cisco money on office expenses and as it downsizes some offices, Patel said but added that this is merely a side effect and not itself a reason for the new policy.
Cisco's approach contrasts with some tech giants who have pushed for a return to offices following the rollout of vaccines across the US. Amazon has said it intends to "return to an office-centric culture" for everyone who is not being shot into space at least. Google has signalled it will expect workers to return to offices at least one day per week starting in October.
Vole told employees they can work remotely permanently if they get their managers' approval.