If there is one success story that emerged during a time when COVID-19 had been devastating entire industries and economies, it is the rise of US tech firm Zoom Video Communications. The recently-turned public company saw a monumental increase in user numbers, climbing from 10 million users in December of 2019 to 200 million users in March 2020 – an increase of 1900% in a mere 4 months. Last month, CEO Eric S. Yuan revealed that the video conferencing platform now sees 300 million daily meeting participants at the company’s annual Zoomtopia event.
So what comes after? Would Zoom usage numbers plummet once the world goes back to normal, and people return to their offices? Answering that question is not exactly easy, especially when we take into account that the pandemic has forced many companies to enforce work-from-home arrangements – for the first time ever, for some. This worldwide viral phenomena has forever warped our understanding of the workplace, and it is quite likely that millions, if not hundreds of millions of people, will continue to work from home in full or limited capacities even after a vaccine is developed.
“The latest research outcomes from China, US, Italy and Spain indicate that companies will only be able to absorb 25% of their employees in the first phase of re-entry to the office, and that an average of 35% of employees will henceforth work remotely post COVID-19,” a Deloitte study from June noted. “It is clear that remote working will be at the core of the new ways of working. The trend has already picked up pace, with industry giants such as Google, Twitter, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, Amazon and JPMorgan announcing permanent work from home policies for significant portions of their workforces.”
So, again, where does this leave Zoom, at least in an important Middle East business hub like the UAE? Well, the company decided to go and find out for itself.
Zoom discovers that 69% of Emiratis expect to work from home post-COVID
Zoom conducted research in the UAE to develop a clear understanding of the number of Emiratis who use video communication applications, how important those tools are to them and how they expect to use them in the future. The company also said that the survey aims to support the continued use of Zoom in the UAE post-COVID.
The results were revealed at a media roundtable by Sam Tayan, Managing Director in the Middle East and Africa at Zoom (interview here), showing that 76% of respondents chose Zoom as one of their top three preferred applications, receiving the highest percentage compared to other platforms listed.
When asked about the importance of accessing video communications post-COVID, 83% of Emirati respondents said that it is important to them to have access, highlighting that the use of video communication applications will continue post-COVID as the way people live and work has changed for the foreseen future. Additionally, 66% believe that the continued use of video communication platforms like Zoom will help boost the economy and innovation in the country.
Remote working findings
As for the respondents’ expectations on how they’ll work in the future, 31% of respondents expect to work from home full time, whereas 38% expect to work from home and from their office, and 27% expect to work full time from their office, This finding highlights that a total of 69% of Emiratis expect to work from home in the future, which is important to consider as they would need video communication applications in the future.
In conclusion, the research findings hold positive expectations for the UAE’s digital future as most of the Emirati respondents look forward to having access to video communications and more than half of them believe that permanent utility of video communication platforms would enable the economy and innovation in the UAE. The importance of the continued use of Zoom is also considered when a total of 69% of Emirati respondents expect to work from home post-COVID (whether it is part of hybrid working or working from home full time).