Zoom wants employers back in the office – twice a week

Being on-site two days a week 'most effective,' claims video-conferencing service

Zoom wants employers back in the office – twice a week

Even Zoom is calling workers back to the office.

The creator of the video conferencing platform is now enforcing a “structured hybrid approach,” according to multiple reports.

This means that employees who live near an office “need to be onsite two days a week” because it’s “most effective” for the company, reported CNN Business.

“As a company, we are in a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers,” the company said, according to the report. “We’ll continue to leverage the entire Zoom platform to keep our employees and dispersed teams connected and working efficiently.”

In November 2022, Matthew Saxon, chief people officer at Zoom, told HRD: “Flexibility for our employees is top of mind.”

Several employers – including Disney and Starbucks – have also called on employers to report to the workplace more often.

‘Mandatory days don’t work’

With the development, one stakeholder pointed to the importance of in-person work attendance. 

“The irony of Zoom ordering their employees back to the office is hilarious. But it also shows a deeper realization that for some things in person is just better,” said Robin Daniels, chief business and product officer at learning platform LMS365, via LinkedIn.

“Deep problem solving with multiple people, building relationships and trust, having tough conversations, to name a few. That’s not [to] say remote work is not immensely powerful and here to stay. Which it is.”

Another criticized the mandatory nature of Zoom’s announcement.

“Mandatory days, in my experience, don’t work. [R]ather, outlining and being clear on what are the special moments/activities we come together for,” said Ryan Hopkins, Future of Wellbeing leader at Deloitte, via LinkedIn.

“Heads down work at home, heads up work together, meaning each team will have very different requirements with regard to hybrid working and one size fits all fits none normally.”

Google will begin including their employees' attendance in performance reviews as part of a string of measures to ensure compliance with the tech giant's hybrid work policy, according to a previous report.

Clarifying Zoom’s stance

However, Stanford professor Nick Bloom clarified some confusion about Zoom’s call on workers.

The return to office policy applies only to workers “within 50 miles of an office,” he said via LinkedIn. “So what they have said could also be stated as ‘You can WFH 3 days a week if you live nearby, more if you live far away’.”

He also claimed that Zoom has been “operating like this for a long-time”. 

“I had lunch with [Zoom CEO] Eric Yuan at Zoom HQ in September 2022 and most employees were already hybrid then. So this is just formalizing a long-existing operating practice.”

The move also makes sense, said Bloom.

“They own a lot of office space and have local employees. If you are paying for office space and high Bay Area salaries it makes sense to operate on a hybrid schedule. They are formalizing this to make it easier to operate and coordinate.”

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