Cisco Employs Mandatory Work From Home Policy Due To Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is hitting the tech segment hard as Cisco cancels partner-focused events and implements a mandatory work from home for many of its employees.


Tech giant Cisco Systems is telling many of its employees to work from home as the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to impact countries around the world and the number of cases globally rises.

The mandatory work from home policy affects Cisco’s main campus in San Jose, California, as well as several of its other U.S. offices, including San Francisco, New York City, and all of Washington State. The policy also extends outside of the U.S. to Cisco offices in China, Italy, South Korea, and Australia.

Cisco is further encouraging employees who can do their job remotely to work from home, particularly in areas that are seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, a spokesperson for Cisco told CRN.

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[Related: ‘Free’ Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Meet Are Coronavirus Remote Workarounds: Cumulus Global]

The coronavirus was declared a pandemic on Wednesday by the World Health Organization, sending many tech company stocks, including Cisco Systems, Intel and IBM plunging.

Cisco's stock on Thursday afternoon was down 10.39 percent to $33.20 a share.

Cisco last week confirmed that it shut down one of its buildings on its San Jose campus after the company learned that a worker was exposed to the coronavirus, but Cisco has not released any further information about the possible cases on campus.

The tech giant owns popular videoconferencing platform Webex, which Cisco uses internally. The tool, like many other web-based videoconferencing tools, has gained popularity as a result of the coronavirus outbreak as many businesses make arrangements for their employees to work remotely. Cisco earlier this month expanded the capabilities on its free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, not only to those impacted by coronavirus, Sri Srinivasan, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Team Collaboration Group, said in a blog post.

The new Webex features include unlimited usage or no time restrictions and support for up to 100 participants. Cisco is also providing free 90-day licenses to businesses who are not Webex customers in this time of need through its sales team and Cisco partners, Srinivasan said.

Cisco also cancelled its participation in many industry events around the globe, including Mobile World Congress in February, Cisco Live Australia in early March, and its Partner Connection week that was also slated for March, which Cisco’s Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik called “incredibly difficult” decisions.

“We know these events are important for you and don’t take the decision to change them lightly, but everyone’s health and safety is of utmost importance,” Tuszik said in a blog posted Thursday. “ I want to assure you that Cisco remains committed to providing partners with the forums and information you need to succeed.”