Zoom CEO’s leaked rant about Zoom reveals reason for WFH backflip


Thanks to a leaked recording, we now know why the CEO of work-from-home enabler Zoom asked staff to return to the office.
Zoom logos are seen displayed on a laptop and a phone screens in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on August 20, 2021. (Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Eric Yuan, the chief executive of Zoom, reportedly told staff the following: “Quite often, you come up with great ideas, but when we are all on Zoom, it’s really hard.” That’s according to a leaked recording from a meeting on August 3rd, which was obtained by Insider.

“We cannot have a great conversation. We cannot debate each other well because everyone tends to be very friendly when you join a Zoom call,” Yuan added.

Zoom, which had once stated that less than 2% of staff would be required to return to the office, made headlines earlier this month, after the San Jose-based company confirmed that was no longer the case.

It told Business Insider that its more than 8,400 employees, who live within 50 miles (80 kilometres) of a company office, would be required to make the trek in at least two days a week, because a “structured hybrid approach” would be most effective for the company.

In the latest recording, Yuan also said returning to the office was important for another reason: to build trust.

“Trust is a foundation for everything,” Yuan reportedly said. “Without trust, we will be slow.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 25: Eric Yuan speaks onstage during the Dropbox Work In Progress Conference at Pier 48 on September 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Dropbox)

Between March and October 2020, Zoom recorded a 420% increase in its share price, to a peak of US$470 per share. It has since lost more than 87% of its peak share price value, and is today trading at $66.95 (at the time of writing).

The dip in share price is largely in line with employees returning to offices. In the United States, Amazon and Apple require staff to spend at least three days per week in the office, Disney staff have returned four days per week and Goldman Sachs has asked employees to return for the full five days. In Australia, Commonwealth Bank has told staff they must spend half of their hours each month in the office.

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