Cisco embraces Macs – and more

April 15, 2009, 12:37 PM UTC
Cisco CIO Rebecca Jacoby

Even in these tough economic times, tech giant Cisco offers employees some pretty sweet benefits: Employees can visit on-campus doctors and dietitians, drop off dry cleaning, or get an oil change, and now they can pick the kind of computer they want to use at work.

That’s right – Cisco has started letting workers choose from a handful of laptops, including an Apple MacBook Pro. Only don’t call the program a perquisite. Rebecca Jacoby, Cisco’s (CSCO, Fortune 500) top information technology officer, says the initiative, launched last year, should actually save the company money. The fact that employees involved in the pilot program are deliriously happy with it – Jacoby and her peers even get love notes from satisfied road warriors – is a bonus.

Of course, that new freedom requires companies and employees alike to make sacrifices. Since Cisco began offering a choice of machines last June, roughly a quarter of employees have opted for Macs, yet they are pretty much on their own for tech support. (An in-house online community for Mac users gets a little help from Jacoby’s department.) Cisco, in turn, has to make a slightly higher upfront investment for the workers who want Macs, which are pricier than PCs.

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