Remote Work Leader Zoom Requires Employees To Return To Office

Remote work champion Zoom Video Communications is requiring some staff to return to the office at least part time.


Zoom Video Communications, a company that’s been leading the remote work charge for the last three years, is now asking some employees to return to the office.

Employees that live within a 50-mile radius of one of the videoconferencing giant’s offices must return for in-office work at least two days a week, Zoom said in a statement on Monday.

Zoom has 14 global offices, with two located in the U.S. in Denver and at its headquarters in San Jose, California, according to the company.

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“If you’re selling collaboration products, [a return-to-office mandate] kind of takes the allure away from your product,” said Shane Stark, chief operating officer of Carrier Access Inc., a solution provider that sells telecommunications and collaboration services. “You should eat your own dog food.”

Still, remote work isn’t the only solution for every kind of job and role within a company, a realization that Zoom may have reached, Stark said.

Clive, Iowa-based Carrier Access doesn’t mandate its employees to work from the office, but the firm sees the value in spending face time with its employees, with some employees spending more time in the office than others. The company has some employees scattered throughout Iowa and Nebraska who only come in about once a quarter, he said.

“As a business owner, we try to do events and different things to get people to come to the office because we believe that sometimes you can do better collaboration face to face. But we’re allowing employees to make their own decisions,” he said.

Zoom at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago emerged as a leader in the videoconferencing and collaboration market as businesses all over the globe transitioned to accommodate remote employees. Zoom at the time was beating out its competitors in terms of monthly users, including fellow videoconferencing market leaders Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams.

Zoom, for its part, mobilized its staff to quickly build out and enhance its platform, up its security, and manage the influx in global demand. The company said that within 24 months, Zoom grew three times in size.

However, Zoom in February announced that it would be reducing its staff by 1,300 employees, or about 15 percent of its staff, CEO Eric Yuan revealed in an internal message to Zoom employees at the time. Yuan said that “each organization” across Zoom would be affected by the job cuts. The company’s stock has been declining as employees around the globe are returning to the office, at least part time, which is driving down the need for remote working tools that were in high-demand three years ago. Zoom shares, trading at $68.82 on Monday, are down by about 40 percent over the past 12 months and down about 87 percent from October 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

“We believe that a structured hybrid approach – meaning employees that live near an office need to be onsite two days a week to interact with their teams – is most effective for Zoom,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

According to a Forbes report published in June, 12.7 percent of full-time employees in the U.S. work from home, while 28.2 percent work a hybrid model. The majority of the workforce, about 59.1 percent, work in-office.

Zoom stock dipped .91 percent to $68.43 after the return to office news was disclosed on Monday. Zoom’s stock is down 88 percent from an all-time high of $559 in October 2020.