Zoom Now Thinks WFH Doesn’t Work As Well As The Company Originally Thought

wfh sad man

I am sure, by now, you’ve likely read all the stories about Zoom demanding all its employees — living within 50 miles of any Zoom office — start working in the office at least two days a week, some three days a week. This, to me, is a bit ironic as, in 2022, Zoom published a survey (that it funded), showing that 69% of workers wanted to choose whether or not to work remotely some of the time or all of the time. So, Zoom seems to be bucking its own data.

So then, what good is data?

As an advertising creative, I have a love/hate relationship with data. Data is driving a lot of decisions right now, without regard for empathy, creative approaches to problem-solving or collaboration among humans. But that’s a topic for a future blog.

Let me get back on topic. Yesterday, Zoom declared, “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 spokesperson said in a statement. “As a company, we are in a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers.”

So, is this good or bad for AV — and all the UCC gear we’re selling under the guise that we’re in a hybrid world forever and ever?

As an old guy, I always believed that a totally remote/WFH world would never work. To me, the culture of a workplace defines its future and its success. As we entered 2020 — all at home — and 2021 — mostly at home — I was wondering how a new employee, especially a newly graduated college student entering the workforce, could be onboarded and have a clue what they were supposed to do without the side-by-side, in-office mentoring and friendship support they receive from osmosis, just from being around other people.

But, as I said before, I am old, and I was thinking at the time that this is a young person’s world and it’s just part of the change. We have to adapt and agree to that change and figure it out. I couldn’t imagine walking into my first AV job at Extron back in 1987 and trying to learn everything I needed to know using a computer screen and Zoom. I couldn’t have done it.

But, the truth is, we — THE rAVe Agency — have hired five people during the pandemic and 40+ interns over the course of the past three years who are 60+% remote while maintaining our culture and, quite honestly, improving our output.

Would we have been able to do the same thing if we were all in the office? Probably. Maybe even more. But I have found my team at rAVe to be awesome in our hybrid existence. And, as an old guy, although I can’t imagine being able to learn all I did in those nine years at Extron being a hybrid worker, I know in my 20s and 30s I would have loved to have been able to work from home on Fridays! So, the trade-off is a better work-life balance. I reflect on this and wish I’d have had that, too.

We will continue to be a hybrid company. And although Zoom is telling its teams to come back to the office a few days a week, as Google, Apple, Microsoft, BMW, Salesforce, Sony and countless other companies around the world have recently, they’re still allowing at least 40% of the work week to be a WFH world.

As an old guy, I think this will pay dividends in the quality of people and the quality of work you will get for and from your teams as their work-life balance will, well, exist. And, I think, having taught both Millennials and Gen Z for 15+ years now, they want this balance rather than the “Wolf of Wall Street” culture of the business world that existed when I was their age …