Zoom is not the first company to call employees back to the office after the pandemic, but it may be the most ironic, as the company’s services allow employees across the country to work from home.

Based out of San Jose, California, the tech company is requiring employees who live within a 50-mile radius of the office to work there at least twice a week starting in August and September — moving the company toward a hybrid approach, reported Business Insider.

“We believe that a structured hybrid approach — meaning employees that live near an office need to be on-site two days a week to interact with their teams — is most effective for Zoom,” a company spokesperson said, per The New York Times. “We’ll continue to leverage the entire Zoom platform to keep our employees and dispersed teams connected and working efficiently.”

A Gallup poll from mid-2022 examined the benefits and challenges of hybrid work.

“Notably, the top challenges of hybrid work are far less prevalent than the top advantages,” the poll concluded. “This indicates that the greatest advantages of hybrid work substantially outweigh the biggest challenges.”

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Benefits, it noted, included greater flexibility, productivity and well-being, while the challenges included difficulty of having needed resources for work at home, feeling less connected than being totally in-person, and decreased team collaboration.

Stanford economist and hybrid work expert Nick Bloom told The New York Times that for Zoom, fully remote work didn’t make sense financially.

“They’re paying for their office and hiring local people so they get no upside from being fully remote,” Bloom told the Times. “The most surprising thing to me was they took so long to formally announce this.”

Earlier this year, the company cut pay and laid off 15% of its staff, which the founder and CEO of Zoom, Eric Yaun, commented on.

Zoom: The next victim of the tech layoff wave to lose 15% of staff
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“As the world transitions to life post-pandemic, we are seeing that people and businesses continue to rely on Zoom,” Yuan said. “But the uncertainty of the global economy, and its effect on our customers, means we need to take a hard — yet important — look inward to reset ourselves so we can weather the economic environment, deliver for our customers and achieve Zoom’s long-term vision.”

Computer and IT companies, like Zoom, led the remote work movement because of its easy transition. Now there’s a transition that hints that working will never be the same. Perhaps the pandemic helped find a middle ground between remote and in-person work.

Forbes reported that the vast majority — 98% — of employees want the option to work from home at least one day during the week, which could force employers into more of a hybrid model that satisfies both employee and employer needs. But two years after the pandemic, hybrid work is on the rise, as only 12.7% of full-time employees work remotely, while 28.2% follow a hybrid model.

“I think hybrid work is going to stay,” Yuan said, per the Times.

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