Zoom ignores irony, mandates workers return to office

Zoom on Microsoft Store
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Zoom will make some of its employees return to a physical office at least two days a week.
  • Employees within 50 miles of a Zoom office will have to shift to hybrid work, while the rest of Zoom's employees can stay fully remote.
  • Zoom made its name by offering remote work options for employees and students during the pandemic and has become ubiquitous when it comes to remote work.

Zoom isn't good enough for full-time remote work, at least according to the company's most recent announcement. Word was recently sent out by Zoom that certain employees will have to work from an office at least two days a week. Only those who live within 50 miles of a Zoom office will be affected by the change, while everyone else will continue to be able to work remotely.

"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," said a Zoom spokesperson. "As a company, we are in a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers."

Zoom is a popular solution for working and studying from home, so the company has been on the receiving end of jokes across the web for making employees return to offices. Business Insider reported on the announcement and highlighted the irony of the situation.

Zoom stock skyrocketed during the pandemic as office employees and students scrambled for normalcy while communicating through video conferencing. Zoom quickly became a verb, as people flocked to the platform for personal and professional situations.

But Zoom's stock has fallen considerably since its peak. The company has lost $100 billion or more in market value since its highwater mark. 

Analysis: Zoom vs zoomers

I've worked from home for years. before the pandemic, I began working for Windows BCentral full-time and have comfortably sat at my desk in sports leisurewear ever since. In my years working from home, I've learned quite a bit about optimizing a home office for work and how to separate my at-home office from the rest of my house.

I don't think working from home is for everyone. I also think there are roles that require in-person meetings and communication. But Zoom's stance still baffles me. The change only affects those who are within 50 miles of a Zoom office. Hypothetically, one employee who lives 49 miles from an office would have to switch from hybrid work while someone in the same role 51 miles away would not have to commute.

Zoom would probably respond by saying that you have to draw a line somewhere, but I'd ask why you have to draw a line at all. As an organization, you're either comfortable with certain roles being fully remote or you are not. I don't care if someone lives in an apartment above the corporate office, if the role doesn't require in-person work, they should be able to work from home.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.