The work-from-home revolution had been petering out over the last few quarters, and it appears that it now has the final nail in its coffin.
Video call provider Zoom, which enabled much of the remote work revolution by allowing employees to communicate while working from home, has itself asked employees to return to its offices. Zoom employees who live within 50 miles of a Zoom office must now work there at least two days a week, the company said. Zoom had earlier fired 1,300 employees in February this year amid a slowdown in its business.
“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 Zoom spokesperson said. “As a company, we are in a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers.”
This isn’t the first time since the pandemic began that Zoom has asked employees to return to offices. In 2021, Zoom had first asked employees to return to offices. It had made the same request last year.
Zoom’s stance on remote work will be watched closely by thousands of companies that use Zoom’s products while working remotely. When the pandemic had struck, Zoom had maintained that remote work was the future — as late as 2021, Zoom had been saying that remote work was here to stay. “The world is different and the workforce is everywhere. People will continue to work together to overcome any obstacles ahead and technology will only continue to play a pivotal role in defining what’s next,” Zoom had said in 2021.
But companies across the board have been rethinking their remote working plans after the pandemic ended. Companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft have been asking employees to return to offices in a phased manner. In India, IT majors like TCS, Wipro and Infosys are similarly asking employees to return to offices.
Zoom had been one of the biggest enablers — and beneficiaries — of the remote work boom during the coronavirus pandemic. When the pandemic had struck, companies had used Zoom’s video calls to communicate with their teams while locked down at home. Zoom’s revenue had risen 355% in 2020, and its stock had risen 8x in the same period. But as the pandemic had ebbed away, Zoom’s usage had slowly declined. Its stock lost all of its gains, and currently trades at exactly where it did prior to the pandemic. And with the company itself now asking employees to return to offices, it appears that remote work might not be the future — at least to the extent that many had envisaged — after all.