With the opening of our Denver, Sydney, and Amsterdam offices, as well as our San Jose headquarters, we’re so excited to welcome our employees back to the office and see how they interact in these newly redesigned spaces. As many continue to develop and adjust their return to office plans, all of us are considering how we can adapt our workspaces to meet the evolving needs of employees and customers. With the rise of hybrid and remote work, offices no longer play the traditional role of being the center of work — offices are taking on new meaning as a place where people can connect, socialize, and enjoy new experiences in addition to work.
Here is how Zoom is thinking about our workspaces to enhance the experience of our in-person, remote, and hybrid employees, and make the most of our offices:
1. First, you need information
Returning to the office and meeting the evolving needs of employees is an experiment, regardless of what industry you’re in. At Zoom, we’ve made some assumptions about what we’ll need to prepare our offices. However, we won’t know if it’s a success until people have had a chance to experience it for themselves.
We have launched office proofs-of-concept in Sydney, London, Denver, and Amsterdam. Each of these offices will be very different. For example, in Denver — where we have a larger employee population and a mix of all types of organizations such as sales, marketing, people experience, to name a few — we’ll learn a lot about what they need to be successful in a dynamic hybrid approach. In London, we’ll be hosting customers live and showcasing our technology and creating new experiences where they can get hands-on with our solutions. Amsterdam will be more of a mix of the two.
These proofs-of-concept have played an instrumental role in helping us develop our headquarters space and identifying the patterns of different teams. This includes learning how our employees organically build their own team engagement, and how they leverage solutions such as Zoom Chat, Zoom Rooms Digital Signage, and other workspace resources.
2. Approach your office redesign step-by-step
Wanting to modernize your workspaces and create a unique, dynamic in-office experience is natural, but you need to figure out exactly what changes you want to make and how those changes will affect your workforce.
At Zoom, we’re experimenting with new office designs and layouts, but we’re not remodeling all of our spaces all at once. We’ve seen large companies commit to opening these spaces just to close them back down because they need to flip their space again.
We’ve always been conservative in the way we approach our real estate, and we’re taking the same approach as we open new spaces and rework our existing spaces to help ensure we are developing spaces that best meet the needs of our employees and customers.
3. Reduce and reuse within your workspaces
We know that not everyone will come back to the office and use a physical desk, so we’ve adapted how we use our on-site resources. By pulling resources and furniture from different areas, we can create different experiences on each floor to meet the needs of employees.
For example, in our Denver office, we previously had desks, cubicles, and other resources that were clustered together. We’ve taken out some of those desks and cubicles to reduce the density of those areas to create more open collaboration spaces. We have taken that furniture and reused it in other areas, so we’re not investing a ton of money into adapting our offices, we’re really redesigning them.
4. Leverage technology to streamline and enhance your workspace
Technology is the great enabler, and in this new era of work, technology will play an even greater role in enhancing the workspace. As we adapt our workspaces at Zoom, we’re working to leverage and evolve our technology stack to streamline on-site operations and help ensure we stay at the cutting edge of innovation.
For example, we have increased our use of Virtual Receptionists, as we know that fewer people will be using the office and on-site receptionists will be less critical on all floors. We’re also using mobile pop-up Zoom Rooms that we can transition to different floors based on the learnings regarding space utilization and the needs of specific teams. And finally, we’re creating spaces that will continuously evolve technologically and include new plug-and-play hardware solutions from our partners such as Neat and DTEN that can be easily swapped out.
5. Use the office as a space for connection
In this new phase of work, employees are more dispersed than ever, working in different offices, states, and remote working locations. To maintain and reinforce your company culture, you need to enable relationships between teams and coworkers through in-person connections.
At Zoom, we’re developing a strong engagement program with our People Experience team that brings employees and teams from across the organization together. For example, we’re playing with the idea of having entire organizations come together one or two times a year for a curated event and leveraging our Talent and Organization Development team to assist in building strong, lasting in-person connections. To support this, we may also look at reimagining some of our existing underutilized spaces as event spaces. This goes back to reducing and reusing in a thoughtful, creative way.
In our future-of-work model, our employees will get to choose their preferred work style. Some of us will choose to always work from a home office. Others will choose to work from a Zoom office full-time. For the rest, they will have the choice to work from home or the office whenever they wish. So building a great program to bring teams and employees together will be incredibly important.
Stay up to date on the latest hybrid work strategies
Be sure to see how our Zoomies are returning to the office on social media by checking out the #zoomielife hashtag! And for more information on how you can prepare your workforce for the next phase of work, please visit our hybrid work page.