Zoom Video Communications Inc., once an unrivaled benefactor of the work-from-home era, has issued a new directive: employees are to return to the office.
A Hybrid Approach for a Hybrid Software
A company spokesperson disclosed that employees living near a Zoom location must be on-site twice weekly. The representative argued for a “hybrid approach,” stating it positions Zoom to ideally utilize its technologies, innovate, and support its global customers effectively.
Zoom’s eponymous video-conferencing software became a pandemic sensation as entire industries had to shift to virtual communication. Following in Zoom’s footsteps, numerous companies, including Amazon.com Inc., Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., and BlackRock Inc., have increased the on-site time required for their employees.
From Remote Work to Returning to Offices
However, the transition hasn’t been uniform. Many offices continue to be underutilized, indicating that some roles might continue to be remote. Data from Basking.io, a workplace-occupancy analytics firm, revealed that offices in the Northeast only attained peak capacity 24% of the time in the first half of the year. Furthermore, job listings for remote positions have increased in several cities.
In the meantime, Zoom has been grappling to sustain its growth in a post-pandemic world. Despite its share price quintupling from March to October 2020, the stock has retreated to its pre-pandemic level.
Zoom’s Strategy for Post-Pandemic Growth
To reignite growth, Zoom is diversifying its offerings with an expanded suite of software tools for large businesses, including in-office collaboration products. The company has also invested strategically in startup Anthropic, integrating artificial intelligence into its software for managing and automating customer service requests.
Contrary to many CEOs’ desire for full-time office returns, Zoom’s Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan has a different perspective. During a May earnings call, he said, “I think the hybrid work will stay. I think hybrid work brings another huge opportunity to us.”