Cisco’s newest office, located in Chicago’s oldest post office building, is a 130,000-square-foot location equipped as a platform for technology innovation in the commercial office world. Merging four local offices under a single roof, what was once an interconnected hub for all the city’s mail has now become a model for what the hybrid work experience should look like for today’s offices.
In Cisco’s case, the company found that by building new spaces with the network at the center, while optimizing everything for collaborative experiences, it was able to relieve many of the pain points found within the transition.
A Model Office of the Future
Featuring a variety of new technologies and experiences alongside development and testing, Cisco’s newest commercial space aims to be a showcase of what a future-thinking office should look like. With enabling smarter work experiences at its core, employees and visitors can see a real-time view of their environment — from ambient noise levels and air quality sensors to occupancy levels.
With the data that Cisco can collect about its space utilization, the office can ‘talk back’ and tell Cisco’s building and operations management teams what is working and what is not. Additionally, individual devices can recognize and understand user needs based on specific parameters. For instance, video devices in the conference rooms and calling stations can identify users by facial recognition and adjust height for the ideal user experience.
Additionally, the workplace boasts an array of connected/intelligent devices which include:
- A comprehensive cloud-managed wireless platform with wireless access points to provide occupancy data based on number of connected devices.
- MV smart cameras equipped with Cisco DNA Space, which can identify empty workspaces to help arriving employees quickly locate available areas.
- Webex video devices that integrate with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom to facilitate hybrid working teams.
- Cisco Meraki environmental sensors, which help ensure that rooms are cleaned and ready for the next meeting.
Prioritizing Workplace Wellbeing and Office Culture
The Chicago office also embodies a strong focus on social connection, as well as employee wellness and overall office culture. It serves not only as a healthier work environment for its employees, but also as a blueprint for Cisco’s customers when designing their own hybrid office spaces. With many questioning what the role of a physical office should be in a remote working environment, the Chicago office acts as a collaboration hub that promotes health and productivity no matter where its employees are working.
“More than ever, employees are demanding more visibility and control over their work environment,” said Javana Vinston, digital workplace experience site lead at Cisco Meraki. “By creating smarter workspaces, it not only allows employees to feel safe returning to the office, but also helps provide remote and in-person employees with a connected and collaborative experience.”
While driving hybrid work-first engagements, the technologies in place also facilitate smarter space and building management. Office layouts can be reorganized accordingly based on expected occupancy levels and preferred workstyles of those entering the office that day. It also drives greater building efficiencies by only running systems, such as the HVAC system, based on occupancy requirements.
Now, with the new smart building technologies the Chicago office provides, Cisco hopes to show how technology can provide companies the tools necessary to continuously perfect a space.