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Workplace Adds WhatsApp Integration, Zoom Tells Employees Work How You Like


People working in an office
Image: Wavebreak Media ltd - Alamy Stock Photo
Welcome to the latest edition of the WorkSpace Connect News Wrap, our periodic recap of the news related to the modern workplace, the people that make it happen, and the products and services that enable it. In this edition, we look at: a WhatsApp integration for a communication tool and how one cloud video provider is readying its future-of-work strategy.
Meta Announces WhatsApp Integration for Workplace
This week, Meta (formerly Facebook) announced that its business communications tool Workplace will be receiving a WhatsApp integration, expected later in 2022. With the integration, companies can share posts from Workplace with employees over WhatsApp, allowing information and updates to be shared in real-time.
“Our frontline teams – whether on the ground or in the skies – are constantly on the move; Workplace allows them to remain connected to Virgin Atlantic, wherever they are in the world and whenever suits them," Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said in the press release. "We use [Workplace] as an internal news channel, where everyone comes together to share information, ideas and values in a uniquely Virgin way. Our differentiator is our people and vital human connection, and Workplace helps us make that a reality.”
Zoom Gives Employees More Freedom. Will More Workplaces Follow?
Zoom this week revealed more of its future of work strategy, announcing that most employees will be able to choose where they work moving forward. The move reflects a growing awareness among companies that employees, having embraced the flexibility of remote and hybrid work.
In a blog post, Zoom’s Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg detailed how the cloud meeting provider — which capitalized on enabling remote work during the pandemic — is thinking about where and how they work in the future. Once Zoom decides it’s safe to operate physical spaces, the company will provide employees with the option to work in an office, remotely, or in a hybrid fashion, which is split between the home and office location. In addition to employees selecting where they work, Zoom will let employees can choose what style works best for them independent of past working arrangements, and where they work won't be tied to career opportunities.
Zoom joins several other large companies, including Amazon, in ceding more control to employees over where they do their work. Zoom decided on this after factoring in a mix of internal surveys and larger workplace reports and polls. In an internal survey conducted last summer, Zoom found only 1% of their employees wanted to work in the office full time. Currently, Zoom has 98% of employees working remotely. The remaining 2% include employees whose role was to manage office spaces and support physical equipment they work in 2022.
Zoom’s decision this week also comes at a time when many workplaces either have pushed back their return-to-office strategies indefinitely or have opted for giving employees the choice. In a survey of Manhattan employers, Partnership for New York City found 75% said that they delayed their return to office plans due to the omicron variant. Looking to the future, 38% of the employers surveyed believe office attendance will exceed 50% later in the first quarter, while 22% of workplaces surveyed said that they can’t give an estimate.
While some are optimistic about an eventual return, some are giving up on the idea that we’ll ever see a widespread return to the office. “The idea of a full return is dead,” Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, said in an NBC News article. Sharing his research on the subject, Bloom shared in the article that many workplaces have “become increasingly positive on work from home as the pandemic … dragged on,” which has changed how workplaces manage, organize, and provide IT services.
For another take on this topic, please consider reading my article on the subject, in this WorkSpace Connect article.