David Heinemeier Hansson

August 7, 2023

Et tu, Zoom?

The corporate cause for return-to-office just claimed its perhaps most ironic victim: Zoom! The company that literally lives to sell us all on the wonders of remote collaboration wants its own people back into the office again. Which I guess is just a regression to the mean of productivity tool makers failing to believe their own marketing, but it's a bit sad none the less.

Not the least because this push for return-to-office has now been proven completely safe for large tech corporations. Thanks to the mixture of mass layoffs earlier this year and the now numerous proclamations that remote-first is over at the majority of big companies. Safety in sentiment, safety in numbers.

This is an opportunistic squeeze, because what's most tech workers supposed to do? The option of simply hopping to another company has been severely limited. Outside the small realm of AI experts, most other domains just aren't anywhere nearly as contested in hiring as they once were. So this is happening now because it can happen now.

I just hope that people who really did enjoy that remote work-lifetyle don't forget what it was like. The balance of power will presumably turn around one day again, and when it does, voting with your feet will be an option again.

Until then, I suspect that the likes of Shopify, Automattic, and other stalwart defenders of remote work will continue to see their openings become increasingly oversubscribed. Just like we've had at 37signals for going on two decades.

Remote work might be receding, but it's simply too compelling an option for too many to ever disappear. The long-term trend line ain't going anywhere.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.