Zoom is calling its employees back to the office for the first time since the pandemic emptied out office buildings across the country. The tech company, which created the eponymous video conferencing tool that exploded in popularity during the pandemic, is asking its workers that live within 50 miles of a company office to return at least two days a week for in-person work. The company has around 8,400 employees globally, with U.S. offices in San Jose, California, and Denver, Colorado, and several international locations. Zoom said in a statement that they believe a structured hybrid schedule for employees will work best for the company. “As a company, we are in a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers,” a Zoom spokesperson said. Zoom’s popularity soared in 2020 after the nation’s workers and students were forced to work from home. The company’s share price jumped significantly that year, peaking at close to $560, but later plummeted at the end of 2021. Zoom has lost at least $100 billion in market value since then and, earlier this year, cut about 15 percent of its workforce.
Before its return-to-office announcement, Zoom said in early 2022 that only 2 percent of its employees worked in its offices. The tech firm’s new mandate comes during a year that has seen a big uptick in the number of companies clamping down on remote work and calling workers back to the office more days out of the week. Just last week, President Biden reportedly told executive leaders to ramp up plans for federal employees to do more in-person work starting this fall. Despite the efforts by companies and elected officials to bring employees back, office occupancy across the country continues to hover around 50 percent, according to Kastle Systems’ latest Back to Work Barometer. And though office leasing has slowly been on the rise, a more robust rebound is being hindered by what CBRE experts believe are ongoing concerns over worsening economic conditions, according to the brokerage firm’s recent office market outlook.