Zoom on Zoom: How we do hybrid work
Hybrid work looks a little different for everyone. For some, it means going into an office a set number of days, for others it means going in whenever you want — at Zoom it means both.
We believe that one size doesn’t fit all. Different teams need different solutions; everyone has their own way of learning, collaborating, and creating. Our platform is designed to support limitless connection through flexible solutions that meet people where they are. As a globally distributed company, we rely on every part of the Zoom platform to make it all happen.
Some of us work exclusively from home, while others strike a mix of in-office and remote work. Certain teams, like our product and engineering organization, go into the office on the same day so they can work in person on priority projects, while others use our platform to collaborate and connect no matter where they are.
Enabling dynamic teamwork, in and out of the office
Some people go into our headquarters, located in San Jose, California, when they want to work in the office or when they know others will be in. Teams like our product and engineering organization have made it a coordinated effort so they can collaborate in person and get hands-on with testing our hybrid work products.
Every Wednesday, product and engineering team members who live near HQ head into the San Jose office. That looks a little different for each team member. Some people start their day earlier so they can help with school pick-ups, while others go in later to avoid traffic. Each person does what works best for their schedule.
A major benefit of spending Wednesdays in the office: the ability to physically use our hybrid work innovations — Workspace Reservation, which the team uses to reserve desks next to each other, Zoom Rooms, and more — and identify areas for improvement right then and there. Those hands-on insights are proving invaluable for elevating our offerings, and it doesn’t hurt that they all get to have lunch together after the fact.
Another team that likes to practice what they preach? The whiteboard product team. When workshopping new features or solving issues, the team quickly creates and shares a Zoom Whiteboard in the very meeting where problems are being identified.
As a hybrid team, some people work from the office on a persistent whiteboard using a Zoom Rooms for Touch device, while other team members join remotely from laptops, tablets, and even cell phones if they’re on the go. The team regularly revisits boards to iterate ideas, sharing the boards outside of the team to capture valuable additional insights, build consensus and gain approvals, and even present as the final document. “We get time savings from not having to create 3-4 decks and docs to edit, gain approvals, and share after a meeting with the team,” said Maribeth Brown, product marketing manager.
The broader product and engineering team also uses whiteboards when they need to put together a quick diagram. As Andrew Chuong, senior product manager, noted, “Even when in person, I use whiteboard to generate notes and diagrams to better explain ideas. Sometimes, it is very difficult to wrap your head around a concept without visuals. Whiteboard allows me to brainstorm the concept while also producing a diagram that I can reference back to later.”
Strengthening customer relationships through hybrid work
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, no matter where we work. We meet with them in real time, collaborate asynchronously on kickoffs and onboarding projects, and bring them to the table to get their feedback on all things Zoom. Here are a few ways we make that happen:
Three-day hybrid customer and executive event
Our recent Customer Advisory Board (CAB) hybrid summit connected over 50 people, both virtually and in-person, to create a holistic feedback loop on our latest innovations.
“It was important that we offered flexibility and choice to CAB members who couldn’t attend in person due to conflicts, medical reasons, or their corporate travel policy,” said Megan Donaldson, global customer advocacy lead at Zoom. “One in-person CAB member was worried about traffic delays on the final day of the summit, but because the event was hybrid, she was able to hit the road early and join from the Zoom mobile app in her car.”
The success of the summit wouldn’t have been possible without these parts of the Zoom platform:
- Zoom Rooms. Fun fact: In less than a day, our event services team turned a hotel room into a Zoom Room with mics, displays, and cameras completely set up.
- Continuous meeting chat. Summit participants communicated during and after the meetings using continuous meeting chat. When one participant had to step out of the summit to attend another call, they were still able to answer a question that popped up in the chat.
- Meeting recordings and smart chapters. After the summit, we needed to synthesize the important parts of hours of meeting recordings. Our team used smart chapters to quickly collect meaningful pieces of feedback and discussion.
Creating a space for customized discussions isn’t exclusive to our CAB — it also happens regularly in our Executive Briefing Center (EBC), a space that aims to bring Zoom’s executive team and subject matter experts together with customers for highly curated experiences designed to solve critical business challenges and showcase Zoom’s latest innovations.
“Planning an executive briefing takes a village,” said Mona Gorjestani, global EBC leader. That’s why Mona’s team spins up a Zoom Team Chat channel to keep everyone connected during each briefing. This channel serves as the home base for the EBC team, account team, executives, and discussion leaders. It helps everyone share content, ideas, and updates within this channel as they prepare for the day of the event.
Mona and her team take advantage of the latest innovations to make briefings as immersive, engaging, and dynamic as possible. Powerful AI features like smart gallery, a Zoom Rooms feature that combines cutting-edge hardware and AI to create individual video feeds of in-room participants, and intelligent director (in beta), which helps determine the best angle to display individuals in a Zoom Room, enable better equity in briefings regardless of location. And to amp up the production value, the EBC team often integrates Zoom with vMix, a high-quality live streaming software, to create an immersive hybrid tour experience.
Next up: Zoom Sessions, a new way to create customized landing pages for each briefing. Using Zoom Sessions, which expands features for single-session events, the EBC team could provide customers with a one-stop shop for their executive briefing, including a view of the agenda, speakers and bios, meeting ID, content, and much more.
Maximizing productivity and flexibility
While collaborating with teams and serving customers consumes a lot of our day-to-day, we all still have our individual responsibilities, programs, and deliverables. Not to mention the needs of our personal lives — whether that means dropping kids off at school, taking our dogs on a walk, or heading to a doctor’s appointment. It can be hard to do it all; that’s why Zoomies like Greg DiPaolo, group manager for web marketing, rely on certain Zoom features to be productive and available as he creates work-life balance.
With a mostly remote team, Greg finds ways to create space for his people to get the help they need when they need it. “Given the remote nature of my team, I’ll often host flexible ‘office hours’ on Zoom Huddles (in beta) that are open to the whole team to stop in to share updates, ask questions, or just check in,” Greg explained. “It’s a great way to deal with a variety of different schedules and timezones.”
He isn’t the only one starting to use huddles to bring the fluid, serendipitous interactions of in-person work to hybrid teams. Teams and departments — like our marketing team — are creating and using huddles to have a common virtual space to organically connect via video, audio, or chat, often for brief conversations about projects or just to catch up.
When it comes to keeping organized, Zoom Apps are an essential part of Greg’s workflows. “Zoom app integrations are a consistent presence in meetings across my team. For example, my team uses the Asana app to discuss our latest team projects. These embedded integrations allow us to keep up with the fast pace of work, all while in our hybrid work environment,” he said.
That fast pace isn’t exclusive to just work either. In Greg’s busy household, features like “Remind Me” in Zoom Team Chat help him catch up on work chats when covering a soccer practice, and transferring meetings from his computer to phone helps him when it’s time to pick up the kids from school.
He also considers virtual backgrounds an absolute must. “Whether I’m trying to cover the latest pile of toys my kids have left behind, or switching rooms regularly to find a quiet space, virtual backgrounds keep my meeting presence consistent and looking at least halfway professional,” he joked.
Making work about purpose, not place
Employees should work where and how they feel happy, safe, and successful. That’s why we support our employees across many different work environments; we know the Zoom platform supports their workstyle, no matter where they are or what team they’re on.
By fostering deep human connection and multiple modes of collaboration, the innovative Zoom platform helps foster the mutual sense of trust critical for teams to feel engaged and empowered to do their best work from anywhere.
When you have that trust, work is no longer defined as a place, it’s wherever employees feel engaged and purposeful in their work.