The Bright Future of Flexible Workspaces: How Cisco Webex Boards Bring People Together
Flexible work environments are the future. We understand this at Tribes Inspiring Workplaces. We’re a flexible workspace operator, offering inspiring workspaces for business nomads in 23 locations across the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. We were founded in 2015, so we're still a young (and growing!) company. We’re called Tribes because we are inspired by the idea of nomadic indigenous tribes. From the famous Maasai of Kenya to our own CEO’s heritage—his ancestors were nomadic shepherds.
Our flexible workspaces are homes for our members. We don’t charge by square-footage—because you don't just get an office with us. It's a complete experience: a workplace, 5-star services, and a lot of extra facilities. We attract everyone from freelancers to SMEs, to larger corporations like Groupon—which occupies a whole floor on several locations.
We’re flexible in every sense of the word. If you're a one-person operation working out of a Tribes workspace and tomorrow you want to have a 100-person team come in, we're going to make it happen for you. You can meet with us, work with us, and use our spaces as a headquarters or virtual office. We are all about bringing people together.
Three years ago, we were just six people in one room. We could shout from one end of the room to connect with the finance department, consisting of one person, who was also HR and IT. Today, we’re a team of 50, and since we’ve grown and expanded to new locations, we are, indeed, spread out. The finance and HR department work from an Amsterdam Tribes location, while the marketing and inside sales team are located in Utrecht. Every Tribes has their own sales manager and community manager. Basically, our teams are everywhere and management travels around.
Uniting the Tribe, One at a Time
We constantly look for ways to work more efficiently as a team. Collaboration, communication, and connection are vital to ensuring everyone can get their work done. We need to coordinate with our teammates in different locations, which can be a challenge when you don’t have the right tools.
So when Cisco introduced their Country Digitization Acceleration Investment Program, CDA, and approached us about using Webex Boards to collaborate, we were intrigued. We already use Cisco for several other digital solutions across Tribes locations, like our networking, but this was something new and creative.
It was sometimes difficult to work on projects when the team was spread across different locations. Busy schedules meant meeting up involved some planning. It was a challenge to connect with each other. I'm not a real fan of conference calls, because you can't see each other, and people start to talk at the same time. Others do prefer conference calls, and they even have those calls while they are in the car. Everyone’s communication style is unique, and we needed some way to consolidate that into one tool. This is especially important when we have opening events for new Tribes locations. The interdepartmental cooperation skyrockets when we have to collaborate on those big projects.
We know we're not the only ones who are dealing with these subjects. We have many international members, who need to check in with HQ or other team members around the world. So when Cisco approached us about Cisco Webex Boards, we knew this was an area where Cisco could help us greatly to provide an extra service for our members, and as a benefit, to upgrade our own international collaborations.
From a Spark to a Flame
I had the opportunity to take part in a Cisco Webex Board demonstration at the Cisco office. I was blown away. I thought, “Wow, I’m truly seeing the next steps in how we will connect with each other.” Seeing and talking to a team member or client through a Cisco Webex Board is even better than a typical video call. The quality of the screen itself was impressive. It was almost as though you’re looking through a hole in the wall to the other side of the room, where your team is sitting in the meeting with you.
But the experience is much more dynamic because we can use the Cisco Webex Board as a touchscreen as well. It’s an interactive experience. The Cisco Webex Board wakes up when you enter the room and is supported through its app, so users can share their presentations, thoughts, and work together on new ideas. This is truly what it means to connect and collaborate with each other.
For the moment, the implementation of the Cisco Webex Board hasn’t drastically changed the way we work internally, since we’ve installed Cisco Webex Boards in two Amsterdam locations (with a lot of international-based members), but are only about 10 minutes away. So, we can easily move physically back and forth between those locations, instead of using the Cisco Webex Boards. Until we launch Cisco Webex Boards in more locations across the Netherlands—as well as in Belgium and Germany—the true possibilities lie ahead. I'm excited about what that future looks like.
But the area we’ve seen immediate value is from providing the Cisco Webex Boards to our members. It's an extra service they can use in our meeting rooms. Our members can rent the meeting rooms with the Cisco Webex Boards, and our service team can teach them how to use it to connect with teams from different countries. We have many companies at our two Cisco Webex Board locations that are internationally-based, and they love what they can do with their new business tool.
It's opened my eyes. The new setup makes me realize this is essentially the next step in co-working and flexible working when your team is spread across different locations.
Going the Distance: Bringing Our Tribes Together
The Cisco Webex Boards further enable our member companies to hire the best people for their remote teams, regardless of where they’re located. They can connect and collaborate even if they’re on opposite sides of the world because the Cisco Webex Boards makes it a non-issue.
Now, Cisco Webex Boards have become an integral part of our member experience.
Before people rent a workspace or a meeting room, we like to show them the location, to make sure they know all the options possible with Tribes. And our managers on location, our Tribal Chiefs, always talk about the Cisco Webex Board. It’s become a great benefit, especially when it's an international company looking to see if Tribes workspaces are right for their needs. You can see their eyes light up as they think about how they’ll use the Cisco Webex Boards for their own business.
Keep Moving: The Future of Flexible Work Is Bright
Personally, I’m excited for the Cisco Webex Boards to launch in Brussels, because it would help me check in with my colleagues there whenever I work in Amsterdam. It will be incredible to see my teammates more regularly to collaborate and discuss strategy.
I can’t wait to install a Cisco Webex Board in every location, because we intend to take our operations worldwide as we expand. We would then truly build a connected network through the screens. So when you're in the location in Frankfurt or Dusseldorf, for example, you can chat and connect with colleagues at any other Tribes location across the world. The fact that it would all come down to such a simple and user-friendly technology blows me away.
The Cisco Webex Boards’ flexibility and utility are a key reason why they fit so well within the Tribes workspaces. They’re bringing people together, helping business to ignite, build, and flourish—no matter where in the world your work takes you.
They’re allowing our members to enjoy the nomadic business lifestyle, all while building a network that serves as their foundation—and their roots. Ultimately, we want to inspire the creatives and the business nomads who seek to take control of their work and their lives. And when your environment encourages you to enjoy what you do, you can become—and build—something that may change the world. And, maybe one day in the future, someone will trace that success back to us.