Zoom calls workers back to the office: Embracing hybrid work for innovation and growth

Zoom Video Communications, previously popular for remote work, is requiring workers near its locations to be in the office two days a week. The hybrid approach aims to enhance technology use and innovation. Despite the return push, remote job listings are increasing, and office occupancy remains low, impacting Zoom’s growth. The company seeks to expand by developing collaboration tools and incorporating AI through a partnership with startup Anthropic. CEO Eric Yuan believes in the potential of hybrid work for future opportunities.

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Even Zoom Is Calling Employees Back to the Office

By Brody Ford

Zoom Video Communications Inc., a one-time darling of the work-from-home era, is calling workers back to the office. 

Employees who live near a Zoom location must be on-site two days a week, a company spokesperson said. A “hybrid approach” is most effective for Zoom, she said, because it will be in “a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate and support our global customers.”

The company’s eponymous video-conferencing software was a breakout hit of the pandemic as entire industries were forced to communicate virtually. Since then, companies as varied as Amazon.com Inc.Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and BlackRock Inc. have increased the amount of time employees must spend on site.

Still, many offices remain lightly used, and there are signs that some roles may remain remote. Offices in the Northeast were only at peak capacity 24% of the time in the first half of the year, according to data from Basking.io, a workplace-occupancy analytics company. Listings for remote jobs have also trended up in many cities. 

Zoom itself has struggled to keep growing in a post-pandemic world. While its share price quintupled from March to October 2020, the stock has since retreated to pre-pandemic levels. In an effort to resuscitate growth, Zoom is developing a wider suite of software tools for big businesses, including in-office collaboration products. It has invested in startup Anthropic to include artificial intelligence in its software for managing and automating customer service requests. 

Insider earlier reported Zoom’s new office policy.

While many chief executives want employees back five days a week, “I think the hybrid work is going to stay,” Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan said during a May earnings call. “I think hybrid work does bring another kind of huge opportunity to us.”

With assistance from Matthew Boyle and Alex Tanzi.

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