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HYBRID VIGOR

Even Zoom is sending its employees back to the office

The Zoom logo is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle
DADO RUVIC / REUTERS
Zoom is starting a hybrid back-to-office approach
  • Samanth Subramanian
By Samanth Subramanian

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Staff at Zoom, the video-conferencing app of choice during the Covid-19 pandemic, will no longer use Zoom quite so much. The company is preparing to send many of its own employees back to their workplaces, as part of what it calls a “hybrid” return-to-office approach.

Today (Aug. 25), Zoom said it would be “strategically mixing remote and in-office work.” An internal poll of Zoom employees revealed that only 1% of the staff wants to return to office full-time. A quarter wanted to work from home all the time, while more than half favored a hybrid approach. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to returning to the office,” Kelly Steckelberg, Zoom’s chief financial officer, said.

Zoom didn’t lay out a schedule for its hybrid approach to kick in. Its offices will reopen only when social distancing and PPE measures aren’t needed, the company said, although it didn’t mention if it would make vaccinations mandatory for its employees. Office reopenings are also expected to be contingent; after Zoom opened its Sydney office this summer, a flare-up of Covid-19 forced it to temporarily close its doors again.

In planning a hybrid return to the office, Zoom will be walking its talk. During an earnings call in June, CEO Eric Yuan said he expected the future of work to be neither fully remote nor fully in-person, but something in between. “Many customers I talk to are looking to create hybrid solutions as they seek to cautiously reopen some offices,” Yuan said. A survey conducted by Zoom and SurveyMonkey in April found that 65% of the 1,500 US workers surveyed wanted a hybrid work environment.

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