On-the-go mobile meetings increased by 300 per cent during pandemic: Report

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 09, 2021

With Covid-19, a majority of the 40 lakh IT workforce are working away from the office

Flexibility, wellness the key drivers of hybrid work, according to the report

Hybrid work has driven a surge in on-the-go meetings, according to the findings of Cisco's first Hybrid Work Index (HWI).

According to the report, on-the-go mobile meetings increased by 300 per cent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic, people used mobile devices 9 per cent of the time to connect to their meetings. In a hybrid work environment, this number has tripled and is now at 27 per cent, the report said.

The HWI is based on "millions of aggregated and anonymous customer datapoints," Cisco said.

"The index, which will be updated quarterly, examines how people’s habits and technology interactions have permanently reshaped work a year-and-a-half into the Covid-19 pandemic," it added.

According to the report, hybrid workers expect increased flexibility, accessibility and security.

“We’re truly at a unique time, with the ability to redefine work,” said Chuck Robbins, Chair and CEO, Cisco. “All employees around the world want a workplace that enables them to do their best, and it is our responsibility as business leaders to learn how best to support and enable our employees, however and wherever they work.”

Employees wish for more choice. The hybrid workplace impacts employee loyalty. Sixty-four per cent of employees surveyed agreed that the ability to work remotely instead of coming into an office directly affects whether they stay or leave a job. However, 47 per cent think that their company will allow working from anywhere versus in-office over the next 6-12 months.

Overall, flexibility and wellness have emerged as the key drivers for hybrid work.

"An overwhelming majority of respondents agree that personal health and wellness, along with flexible work arrangements, are non-negotiables as we move into the future of hybrid work," the report said.

Hybrid work also means increased access to diverse talent. Eighty-two per cent of survey respondents agreed that access to connectivity is critical to recovery from the pandemic. They also highlighted the importance of ensuring everyone has equal access to jobs, education, and healthcare opportunities.

"Increased connectivity access will empower people to work for any company in the world and companies to source the best talent regardless of location," it said.

Meetings and connectivity

The report also focused on meetings and interactions.

According to the report, over 61 million meetings take place globally every month via Cisco Webex. And in any one of them, only 48 per cent of participants are likely to speak. 98 per cent of meetings have at least one person joining remotely, "increasing the need for inclusion and engagement of remote participants so that they feel equal to their peers on site."

From a technology perspective, there has been an over 200 per cent growth in usage of AI capabilities from July through September 2021, indicating the preference for improved meeting engagement.

"This includes meeting features like noise reduction, automatic translation and transcriptions, polling, and gesture recognition – making it easier for people to engage in conversation, whether they’re virtual or in-room," as per the report said.

Enterprises view collaboration apps as the most critical application type for hybrid work success: Collaboration apps are now the #1 most monitored application type globally. Collaboration apps have surpassed secure access and productivity application monitoring, which were more heavily monitored at the onset of the pandemic and move to work-from-home.

With virtual and hybrid meetings, home networks are now also one of the most critical parts of the enterprise network. The growth in teleworker devices has been twice as fast as compared to small and medium business routers since the pandemic started.

Cloud provider networks demonstrated more stability than Internet Service Providers (ISP), according to the report. From January 2020 to August 2021, cloud provider networks accounted for a mere 5 per cent of outage incident volume. ISP networks accounted for the remaining 95 per cent of outage incidents.

As offices reopen, devices connecting to office-based Wi-Fi networks also increased 61 per cent in comparison to six months ago. The growth was driven by higher education, professional services and the hospitality industry.

There has also been an increased focus on security post the pandemic amid heightened cyber threats.

During the pandemic, malicious remote access attempts grew 2.4 times. In September 2021, the hybrid workforce was targeted, with over 100 million email threats daily.

"This underscores the importance of security infrastructures that keep work accessible to the right users and out of reach of fraudulent actors," it said.

Published on October 09, 2021

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