Zoom – the video conferencing technology that saw its stock skyrocket during the Covid-19 pandemic – has surprised many by rowing back on its own remote working policy.

After connecting friends and family – and being used by countless businesses to continue as normally as possible during lockdowns – Zoom was flying the flag for remote working, even saying its staff would have the option to work from home ‘indefinitely’.

However, it’s now had a change of heart and said that a “structured hybrid approach” (where staff members spend part of their week at the office and part working remotely) would be the preferred option. For Zoom, any staff member working within 50 miles of an office would be required to work there in person for at least two days a week.

The move may come as a surprise to many who thought the likes of Zoom would continue to be vocal advocates of remote working, but it does follow the likes of Disney and Amazon which have also tightened up such policies in recent months.

Despite these roll backs, remote working remains significantly more commonplace than it was pre-pandemic. Back in 2019, just 5% of workers in the US worked at least some days at home. Now the figure stands at 29%, with a further 12% being fully remote (according to research from Stanford University). Figures from the UK are thought to be similar.

Back in September 2022, three quarters of the Zoom staff were working remotely, with just 1% having a regular office presence.

The company says this change to hybrid working will put it in a “better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers.”

It’s thought much of this can be attributed to Zoom facing tough competition from its nearest rivals, with the likes of Microsoft investing heavily in remote working technologies in recent years to try and capture the large market share. Zoom concluded that it would continue to leverage its platform to keep “employees and dispersed teams connected and working efficiently”.