Some of the world’s top executives, including the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Zoom Video Communications Inc., say that some aspects of remote working are beginning to take a toll on them too.
After more than a year of working virtually during the pandemic, executives in banking and technology are pushing back on the idea that workers should be able to do their jobs entirely from home in the coming months. While many of these companies say that they expect many of the flexible working arrangements that have already been implemented will likely be a permanent fixture within their companies moving forward, there are still clear signs that some employees are suffering from major burnout as a result of non-stop video calls.
During the recent Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit, Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom said that he had personally experienced Zoom fatigue. On one day last year, he said he had 19 Zoom meetings in a row.
“I’m so tired of that,” Mr. Yuan said, adding that he no longer books back-to-back Zoom calls. “I do have meeting fatigue.”
Like many companies, Zoom is planning an eventual return to its offices, Mr. Yuan said. Zoom’s employees will most likely be asked to come into an office two days a week, and work from home the rest of the time, he said.
Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan, said more of his employees will return to the office starting this month, though he acknowledged they aren’t all happy about it. Remote work doesn’t work well for generating new ideas, preserving corporate culture and competing for clients—or “for those who want to hustle,” Mr. Dimon said, adding he has been back in the office for months.
For months, corporate leaders have debated how best to reorient work once more employees return to in-person settings. Though many are settling on a hybrid approach, blending remote work with in-office days, there is a simmering standoff between some workers and their bosses around how flexible work should be once the pandemic ends.
Some employees have gotten so used to remote work that they never want to go back to an office, said Ellen Kullman, CEO of 3-D printing startup Carbon Inc. While employees should have some input, they alone won’t decide how work evolves, she added, saying that she is worried about hybrid work models.