Even Zoom wants its workers to come back to the office now
The company that became a household name during Covid lockdowns thanks to its video chat software is ordering its staffers to head into the office more often. The company told employees who live a commutable distance to a Zoom office that they must come in for at least two days a week, reports Business Insider. Zoom says this “structured hybrid approach” will be most effective for the company.
It’s a sign that the era of remote work, which surged during the pandemic, is waning. Many companies have rolled out policies reinforcing the need for people to be physically present in the workplace. And it’s the White House, not just big tech companies, that seems to be driving the change. White House chief of staff Jeff Zients recently urged federal agencies to make sure in-person meetings are required whenever possible, and to limit remote working as much as they can. It’s the most aggressive statement to date that the administration believes in-person meetings are critical for its ability to carry out its agenda and prepare for a critical election next year.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom saw its revenue skyrocket as people used the company’s software to work remotely during lockdowns. But now the company is facing a challenge as more and more workers return to their offices, with shares down over 85% since they peaked in October 2020.
In February, the company laid off 1,300 employees, or 15% of its workforce. It also reduced employees’ base salaries and forfeited their fiscal 2023 bonuses. It also said it would stop selling its services to individual users, shifting focus to enterprises that pay for the software’s conferencing capabilities.
This change in strategy appears to be related to Zoom’s recent struggles, as well as a general decline in its market. In a financial report, the company said its revenue from customers with more than 500 employees had declined by 9% year-over-year, while revenues from individual users grew by 3%.
While the company continues to grow its business from enterprise customers, it will need to be more aggressive in growing its user base if it is to continue to drive sales growth. That might mean more marketing campaigns to entice new users to its platform, and it could also involve more investments in AI technology that can help businesses better understand their customers.