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Future of work: Zoom CFO describes the future of hybrid jobs at the company

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Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss Zoom hosting the Work Transformation Summit, the introduction of a new hybrid work model for the company's employees, and the importance of socialization and collaboration.

Video transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

BRIAN SOZZI: Zoom is hosting its first Work Transformation Summit, where industry leaders will gather and bat around ideas for the future of work. For its part, Zoom remains in remote work mode during the pandemic but will likely move to a hybrid model post-pandemic. Let's talk more about this with Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg. Kelly, always nice to see you. Thanks for joining us.

Help us think about this future of work. Does the physical office play any-- any real role as we start to move beyond the pandemic?

KELLY STECKELBERG: Yeah. Hi, good morning, Brian. It's really interesting because work is evolving from historically have been a place to now being a space where we come together. And what we heard from our employees is they want to gather, they want to be in a physical proximity together to collaborate, to socialize, and to see their colleagues but not necessarily to get their work done on a daily basis.

So we are announcing our work styles. And this is after a long time of listening to our employees, talking to them about what's really important to them. And there's going to be three work styles that we're going to have at Zoom.

The first and the largest population will be hybrid, as you said. They will have the flexibility to come to the office on a periodic basis. For some individuals or some teams, that might be a couple of days a week. Others it might be a couple of days a month. And these are largely employees that live within a commutable distance to one of our offices.

We will have a sizable portion of our employee base that will be fully remote. So these are employees that either were hired into remote position initially or during the last two years have moved beyond a commutable distance. I'm a perfect example of that. I have left the Bay Area and now live in Central Texas.

And then the third and really smallest population of our team will be individuals that are in-person. They do have in-person roles. But these are based on the roles and responsibilities. They are people like our workplace team that are taking care of our physical spaces as well as our IT organization that are managing servers or other supplies in the offices for us.

BRIAN SOZZI: Kelly, I've had some friends recently try to go back to the office. They've navigated that pretty well. But they still have meetings, and they walk into a conference room, and they still don't know how to act. Map this out for us. What does that conference room experience of the future look like?

KELLY STECKELBERG: This is such a great point, Brian. Like, having the right technology and strategy around your conference room solution, both hardware and software, is imperative to having a successful office reopening program. And Zoom has been working very closely with our customers and innovating around this. And there's a couple of key innovations that we're really excited are part of our Zoom rooms.

One of those is Smart Gallery. So those of us that been working remove for a long time, we've all become very accustomed to this experience where we can see everybody's face on the screen, we can see their names, we can tell who's talking very easily. And you lose some of that when you have some employees working at a conference room together and some that are remote. What Smart Gallery does is it recreates this experience by having the view of the room, but also having an individual view on every person that's in that conference room. So if I'm the person that's not there, I still have a really clear view of everyone who's there. I can be included in the discussion in a very easy way, because I can see everybody. I can see their reactions on their faces. And that's one of the innovations that we've done.

We've also done something called companion mode, because we've heard from many people that the other benefits you get from a Zoom meeting is things like the chat functionality, the ability to participate in polling. And companion mode gives you that when you walk into a conference room, you can join the meeting silently from your laptop or your mobile device, and then still have those features that you join with your camera and your mic off, so it's not disruptive. But you get to participate fully in the meeting.

JULIE HYMAN: Hey, Kelly. It's Julie here. So I'm curious, as you've been working at home, and as you've surveyed your employees, like, what was the most sort of head exploding moment for you? I guess I mean that in a good way, meaning, like, what was the most revelatory for you in terms of what people were saying or what you were experiencing that you didn't sort of expect from at-home experience?

KELLY STECKELBERG: I think there's three things. I think, first of all, 85% of not only our employees, but we did a survey recently with Momentum, and 85% of employees that are currently working remotely say that it's most important that they get to choose. So having choice, the employee having choice is the most important thing for them. And so we want to ensure that our employees get just that. And that's what our work styles are designed for.

Also, only 1% of our Zoom employees said they wanted to be in the office full time. We're going to end up with about 2%, but that's based on the roles that they have and those responsibilities.

And then last but not least, which I thought was so interesting, is our employees they miss their colleagues. They want to come together. But the top three reasons people wanted to be in the office, it was really around that. It was like around socialization and collaboration, because we have all adapted so well to getting our work done remotely. We don't need to be in the office any longer to accomplish that. But we can benefit from other aspects, like seeing our friends and colleagues.

JULIE HYMAN: And so do you anticipate that you guys will do-- as you said, it's going to eventually probably be some kind of hybrid model. How do you sort of organize for people to come into the office and have that social aspect and still, you know, kind of logistically, how do you get that all done?

KELLY STECKELBERG: Yeah. So the way that we're thinking about it is a couple of things. First of all, we are opening our offices and testing and learning and experiencing-- experimenting. We know that-- you know we all knew how to work together when we were all in the office. We've all learned how to work together remotely. And now we're going to have to all learn how to work together in a hybrid environment.

So we are doing a couple of things. First of all, we will have a way that employees can reserve a desk so that you'll be able to go on and see, like, I can look the night before and see, like, hey, my team will be in the office tomorrow. I would like to join them. So you can plan accordingly.

We also will encourage managers and teams to self-organize. It's not going to be programmed by the company, but self-organize around days in the office that might work best for them. So, for example, my team, may be Finance and Workplace, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days that generally we come to the office if it works for people.

And then the other thing is that employees will have the opportunity to work with our People Experience Team, especially our managers, to learn how to manage in this environment. It's a very different experience, and we want to ensure that everyone is empowered and enabled to have an inclusive opportunity and experience. And that's what we'll provide to our managers to make sure that they feel supported in this experience.

BRIAN SOZZI: Well, good luck at the summit today. Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg. We'll talk to you soon about earnings. Coming up.

KELLY STECKELBERG: Sounds great. Thank you guys.

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