Zoom CEO Eric Yuan discusses hybrid work during BoxWorks panel

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The chief executive officer of Zoom discussed hybrid work during a Thursday panel.

Eric Yuan, speaking during a virtual panel at BoxWorks 2022, said the hybrid work model is "not that straightforward" and his video communications company is "still trying to figure out what's a sustainable hybrid work model for us." A lot of companies "probably are in the middle of the process to truly embrace" it, he added.

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One challenge companies are dealing with is varying definitions of hybrid work, Yuan said.

"What's your definition of hybrid work? How many days in your office? How many days at home?" he said. "And, you know, sometimes you want employees to come back to the office. You want all employees back to the office or some departments?"

Eric Yuan, founder and chief executive officer of Zoom, speaks during the BoxWorks 2019 Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Oct. 3, 2019. (Michael Short/Bloomberg) (Getty Images)

Other factors involve technology and whether to assign employees designated desks or practice desk hoteling, according to the Zoom CEO.

Yuan said Zoom's office utilization rate is "less than 50 percent."

"Employees also want to meet in person, but they don't want to meet in the office anymore because the workspace is not big enough," Yuan also said during the panel, adding that "off-site meetings" get scheduled.

"There's a lot of challenges," he said. "The good news is we're all going to figure out a way to truly embrace hybrid work."

The ZOOM Cloud Meetings app is displayed on a phone screen. (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Box CEO Aaron Levie, who hosted the panel featuring Yuan and HubSpot CEO Yamini Rangan, asked Yuan about where he thought hybrid work would be in the next year or so.

"Just look at high-tech companies, very likely, I would say, two days or three days in office or three days at home," he said. "I think pretty much that's probably the final hybrid work formula for most of the companies."

In extreme cases, Yuan projected that some companies could go "five days a week mandatory, five days remote."

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Many Wall Street firms, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, recently have been taking steps to reduce remote work and promote returning to the office. Companies in New York City and elsewhere had to send their employees home during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yuan said that "there are so many benefits" to a hybrid or digital-first work environment, including flexibility to talk with multiple customers across the country and world in a single day. The flexibility has helped with recruitment competitiveness and enabled Zoom to hire people anywhere in the world, he added.

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