Work-from-home pioneer Zoom sends staff back to the office

Zoom employees will soon be expected to front up to the office two days a week.

Zoom employees will soon be expected to front up to the office two days a week. Photo: Getty

Zoom, the technology company that helped enable the global work-from-home revolution, is now telling employees it’s time to return to the office.

The company has announced it will enforce a “structured hybrid approach” to work in the coming weeks.

This means Zoom employees will have to be onsite at least two days a week if they live within 80km of an office.

“As a company, we are in a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers,” Zoom said in a statement circulated by media on Monday.

“We’ll continue to leverage the entire Zoom platform to keep our employees and dispersed teams connected and working efficiently.”

Zoom’s headquarters is in the tech hub of San Jose and there’s another US office in Denver. There are also three offices in Europe, eight in Asia and one in Sydney, Australia.

There will be a staggered roll out to the “structured hybrid approach”, depending on the country, the BBC reported, but it will begin this month and into September.

Many people have noted it is quite ironic that one of the companies that helped people work from home during COVID is now wanting people back in the office.

When the pandemic took hold and people started working from home, products like Zoom were essential to many. However, since the pandemic eased, growth has slowed at the company and in February this year, Zoom cut 15 per cent of its staff.

Our trajectory was forever changed during the pandemic when the world faced one of its toughest challenges,  and I am proud of the way we mobilised as a company to keep people connected,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said in a blog post regarding the cuts.

“To make this possible, we needed to staff up rapidly to support the quick rise of users on our platform and their evolving needs. Within 24 months, Zoom grew 3x in size to manage this demand while enabling continued innovation.”

In light of the cuts, Mr Yuan announced he would reduce his salary by 98 per cent for the coming fiscal year and forgo his corporate bonus.

Zoom’s executive leadership team also reduced their salaries by 20 per cent and forfeited their bonuses.

pictured is a Zoom meeting

Zoom helped people navigate working from home during the pandemic.

Push to go back to the office

Zoom is by no means the first major tech company to try and get its staff back into the office.

Earlier this year, Google decided to push people back into the office at least three days a week.

Starting September 5, Meta employees are also expected to show up to the office three days a week.

“We’re committed to distributed work, and we’re confident people can make a meaningful impact both from the office and at home,” a Meta spokesperson told CNN back in June.

“We’re also committed to continuously refining our model to foster the collaboration, relationships, and culture necessary for employees to do their best work.”

However, the Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study 2022 found that majority of workers are reluctant to go back to the “old way”.

The study found that 62 per cent of employees globally said the ability to work anywhere impacts whether they stay at or leave a job.

While hybrid work or remote working arrangements initially presented challenges, Cisco found that it eventually “yielded many benefits”.

“More than three quarters of respondents (78%) believe hybrid and remote working has improved all aspects of well-being, empowering employees to take care of their full selves in both their roles at work, and beyond their jobs,” the study said.

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