Advice For Starting Your Career in a Hybrid World

This post was co-authored by Catherine Smith.

If there’s one thing that Cisco knows well, it’s change. When the world went remote, then hybrid – so, too, did Cisco. And because we’re the tech behind keeping the world connected through Webex – well, it made it that much easier.

For Marketing Interns taking part in the Amplify Program (a year-long program that prepares new grads for their first full-time marketing roles at Cisco), there were a lot of adjustments and along the way we learned, grew, and thrived.

While trying to network remotely felt intimidating at first, the Amplify Program has provided an incredible amount of support and opportunities for our class to engage with people from various teams in Cisco’s marketing organization. Through the program, we have had the chance to attend Learning with Leaders sessions to ask marketing executives about their careers, and the program managers also help us form connections with different teams to take on stretch assignments where we get to explore other areas, skillsets, and business units within Cisco.

Even though our careers are getting started online, the Amplify Program has laid out the structure, connections, and resources we need to be successful – whether we work remotely or in-person in the years to come.

If you’re joining the hybrid workforce soon, as interns or new grads, we wanted to share some key takeaways we learned from Amplify Program Alumni. Here is some of the advice they shared:

Headshot of Sam.
Sam M, Creative Marketing Specialist/EN&C Programs and Awareness Team, San Francisco, CA

“Invest in high-quality, adjustable office equipment. Get a nice chair, a standup desk, and a laptop stand or monitor. This is something you’ll use every single day and as everything in your home is in a concentrated space, you don’t move as much. Make time for some physical activity every day – even blocking 30 minutes for a walk or taking a walking meeting is helpful.

Try not to take lunch at your desk, either and take your time to eat. Your desk should be a ‘work-only zone’. This will help create work-life balance and is time that should be seen as refueling for the rest of your day. If you find it’s difficult to find time to eat, block that time on your calendar.”

Headshot of Fania
Fania K, Partner Marketing Specialist/Partner Marketing Team, Raleigh, NC

“Find what work-life balance looks like for you. It’s important to not stress for a full 8-9 hours at your desk. Block off time so that you aren’t working past the end of the day and dedicate yourself to finding the distinction between your personal and work life, like establishing transitions between work time and personal time (ex: changing out of work clothes). Switching up your environment can also help when you need a break, too. And putting a block on your calendar for important tasks or using the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on Webex are all helpful in organizing your time.”

Headshot of Abby
Abby C, Digital Marketing Specialist, CSM Strategic Planning & Acceleration Team, Cary, NC

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! This world is still a bit new for everyone and is quite different from when we were in school. There will be challenges and times that you can’t just look up from your laptop and ask a question to a friend or co-worker. Try to make those connections early so you have a good support system. Also make sure you are setting work/life boundaries for yourself. Just because you are home for the night, doesn’t mean you need to work until 8pm. Try to still stick to an “in-office” schedule of 9-5 and then putting your laptop out of site until the next morning. Embrace this new experience! There is so much more freedom in a hybrid environment to have a better work/life balance and Cisco does a wonderful job of supporting that.”

Cisco knows that happy and healthy employees and a great work culture are what make us one of the World’s Best Places to Work, even if it’s from the comfort of your home – proving that work is no longer a place you go, but what you do.

Have some hybrid work advice of your own? Be sure to share it in the comments below.

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