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Zoom is coming back to the office, but most employees aren’t coming back

The company that backed the work-from-home movement is moving away almost entirely.

Zoom Video Communications Inc. ZM,
+2.09%
announced a new return-to-office plan on Wednesday that allows the vast majority of its 4,400 employees to work from home by establishing three broad categories of workers: hybrid (a majority of the workforce who live within commuting distance and would come in occasionally), remote and in-person, the latter representing less than 2% of Zoom labor. Zoom’s video conferencing technology, a staple among thousands of companies for communicating and collaborating as the pandemic forced workers to shelter in their homes, will be a major source of internal interaction.

“Workers really want choice, and they choose to continue working from home,” Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg told MarketWatch. She cited an internal survey of 4,900 Americans, more than two-thirds of whom wanted choice in where they work. About 85% of people working remotely want it to stay that way, she added.

Some 3 million professional jobs were permanently cut in the fourth quarter of 2021, bringing this type of work arrangement to 18%, according to data collected by Ladders. By the end of 2022, this number should be close to 25%.

Zoom, which has become one of the pandemic’s go-to tech solutions, shared its plans Wednesday at its first Work Transformation Summit, a virtual gathering where industry leaders joined Zoom executives in a series of discussions. and interactive sessions.

Read more: How tech companies are bringing workers back to the office – Slowly and with ‘social’ incentives

Zoom’s limited reopening of US offices is expected to begin in Denver in the first quarter of the year, followed by its headquarters in San Jose, California. Steckelberg, who moved to central Texas, will work remotely, as will company executives in Southern California and the East Coast. Large employee gatherings will only be held a few times a year for special occasions, she added.

The biggest concern with hybrid or remote working is preserving company culture while maintaining performance and collaboration, according to more than a third of executives surveyed in Deloitte’s Return to Work 2021 survey. a study by Morning Consult, more than half of remote workers (55%) would consider quitting if their company tried to force their return to the office.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. HPE,
-0.03%
Executives told MarketWatch last year that the company would offer a division of workers similar to Zoom: peak workers, who mostly work remotely but can come into an office for collaboration or social interaction, and employees office workers, who mainly work on site. Apple Inc.AAPL,
+0.35%,
Microsoft Corp. MSFT,
+2.29%,
Google mother Alphabet Inc. GOOGL,
+0.92%

GOOG,
+0.84%
and others have postponed their return indefinitely, acknowledging employee calls for flexibility.

See also: Big Tech’s big deal – Let employees stay home from expensive campuses or ‘risk losing 30% of their employees’

Last week, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. FB,
+1.23%
delayed the return of employees to its U.S. offices from March 28 to January 31 and will require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Companies like Meta that are pushing for a return to the office have been among the most persistent in their need for vaccines. JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM,
-0.44%
Chief Executive Jamie Dimon recently said the bank would lay off unvaccinated employees.

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