At Mint presents Mastermind 2023 – Decoding the Value of Experience, Ms Daisy Chittilapilly, President of Cisco, India and SAARC theatre, underscores the importance of hybrid workspaces and how they could play a crucial role in boosting RoX.Chittilapilly reveals how COVID pushed Cisco to commission an internal study on hybrid work strategy in 2022. Sharing its findings, she says, “Over 90 percent of people who participated in that study told us hybrid work was better for them from a physical, emotional, social and even a financial standpoint. Over 60 percent of them said they were more productive when they are allowed to work from a space where they are most inspired and comfortable. And over 70 percent of them said to us that hybrid work is the permanent model," she says.Chittilapilly, however, feels the execution of hybrid models is still at an evolutionary phase but it has pushed them to think innovatively. “We are working on innovations in three areas. Firstly, the people and culture aspect. Managing a hybrid environment is a lot harder than getting everybody to work or telling everybody to work from home. A lot of changes have to be made in the way we recruit, manage our people, and the way our work related processes are. The second conversation is about physical workplaces. We have to reimagine workspaces to foster collaborations, learning and socialization. Because when you come to the office that experience has to be different from your experience of working at home," she says. “And then the technology. As we try to bring hybrid work to life, we have to make technology which is driving digitization, a core pillar of that strategy. How do we integrate the technology in such a way that we can make the person who is not in the office on a day feel included in the conversation? So these are the spaces in which we are thinking and innovating a lot." Chittilapilly admits accessing talent is possible with hybrid models. “During COVID when a lot of our people went away we were supporting three hundred locations for more than two years. So you can imagine supporting 12000 plus employees across 300 locations."“At the same time hybrid work allows us to access a talent base which we had never done before. I think differently abled in India are a significant population and they are hugely qualified and educated. Women are another constituency that we are keenly watching. So we will have those conversations, not all roles can be 100% remote." Chittilapilly stresses on coming together of physical and virtual world to make a hybrid model successful. Citing an example of Cisco, she states," So on physical space we have used technology to the hilt because we are a technology company. For example, if you have to walk into a Cisco building, and you could be from anywhere in the world, you would’ve a badge and all Cisco buildings worldwide can be accessed by that. In all these buildings you have QR codes at every space. You also have Cisco maps telling you about the buildings, its spaces and technologies capabilities. “When you point your device at that QR code it will personalize that space to you. The aircon will adjust to your preferred setting, the light levels will move to the setting you want or devices could show the pictures of the family which you want to be surrounded by or the vacation you took. What you want people is to feel they belong in that space. So we do take care of personalization."Chittilapilly admits Cisco made a strategic shift in their customer experience strategy to boost their Return on Experience. “We did it 7-8 years ago, recognizing the Gartner report that said two out of three companies will compete only on the basis of the experience they deliver externally to their customers and partners. The reason we focus on the employee experience so much is because return on experience is at the intersection of customer experience and employee experience," she says.“One big shift we saw is that consumers across industries want to consume technology. So what used to be- that you could deploy technology and look for Return On Investment (ROI) on that technology deployment for 3-5 years etc, that return expectation from the client has changed. The other thing is that they want to extract value and pay for that value as they extract value. It means that nowhere is the patience to pay for that technology upfront and then hope to see a return over the next 3-5 years. We were always customer centric but now we have an entire team looking after customer experience," she says, adding CISCO has a goal of becoming a net zero company by 2040.Today, organizations worldwide are working on creating hybrid workplaces because the pandemic has changed the way we look at work. By relying on data, feedback from employees and customers, and integrating flexibility in our work strategies, we can build a business model that is enduring and even better than before.