There aren’t many companies or products that have been as central to the pandemic workplace experience as Zoom.
In a six-week period, the video meeting software went from 10 million daily meeting participants to 300 million, a 30 times increase that put chief people officer Lynne Oldham in a very complicated situation. She had to increase the employee headcount significantly while moving the entire company remote and meeting the needs of this skyrocketing demand. For these efforts, Oldham was also named one of Insider’s HR Innovators for 2021.
Over the past year, Zoom added new leadership in cybersecurity, engineering and product, and a chief diversity officer. It also made an acquisition of Keybase, further complicating the execution of Oldham’s workforce strategy as they added hundreds of new employees.
Oldham also had to keep pre-pandemic employees top of mind. These workers were tasked with handling the initial bursts of demand, as well as a sharp shift to remote work.
“Zoom’s workforce was only 15% remote pre-pandemic,” Oldham said. “This meant most Zoom employees were navigating a new work from home environment while also working long hours to keep the Zoom platform up, and make updates to address the needs of new users and educate new users.”
One of her first priorities was holistic support for employees, adding new mental health benefits and wellness offerings, which expanded from covering gym memberships to covering grocery and food delivery, home office furniture, and more.
Oldham and her team also created “Camp Zoomitude” for the children of Zoom employees. This summer program provided “camp-based” virtual activities three days a week and featured family sing-a-longs on Fridays.
For newer employees, Oldham put a heavy emphasis on their digital onboarding program. Knowing they would be adding to their headcount significantly, Zoom leadership knew their onboarding needed extra attention. Oldham notes that today approximately a third of company employees are so new that they have never set foot in an office or met their coworkers.
Zoom announced the hiring of chief diversity officer Damien Hooper-Campbell in late May 2020. After George Floyd’s murder, Oldham facilitated an “all hands” town hall-style meeting to hear from employees on how they were feeling. In follow-up, executive leaders held additional listening sessions with Black employees to continue gathering feedback.
“Learning and education, we believed, were the key to making Zoom a more inclusive workplace,” Oldham said.
Continuing on the theme of education, Zoom launched ZoomTalks, a nine-part series of discussions on race in America completed in partnership with TIME and the University of Southern California where Hooper-Campbell was a co-host. Zoom also forged a five-year partnership with Claflin University, an HBCU, that will spend $1.2 million to provide internships, scholarships, technical support, strategy support, and more.
For Oldham, the main lesson from the pandemic was the responsibility for the holistic support of employees and the role that HR can play there.
“We are now all working through the cracks of life rather than just trying to live life through the cracks of work,” she said. “This means for the HR profession that social engineering will be more critical than ever. Understanding social capital and the nature of the remote workspace is going to be vital so that we can help create collaborative, innovative work cultures in the new remote/hybrid world.”
The opposition Labour Party has told Boris Johnson to cancel his planned trip to India for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.
The prime minister is set to visit India on April 26, and Downing Street has refused to cancel it, with a Number 10 spokesman on Friday saying the trip had been made “slightly shorter than it will have been.”
Labour on Sunday said Johnson should cancel the trip altogether.
Zoom supports larger meetings, but Google Meet is conveniently packaged with other Google services.
Table of Contents: Masthead StickyPro Plan (Monthly) (small)G Suite Business Account (Monthly) (small)
Two of the most popular video communication tools for remote work and learning are Google Meet and Zoom. The two services are used by workplaces and classrooms around the world. Both provide the ability to interact with other participants through video conferencing, enabling businesses and schools to conduct remote meetings and lessons through a variety of apps and devices.
But which of these tools is ultimately better? And which might work best for your needs? We put Google Meet and Zoom head to head to find out.
Google Meet vs Zoom: Which is better?
Google Meet and Zoom are both video conferencing services and they offer a lot of the same features. But one service may be a better fit for your needs depending on the size of your team and what other applications you plan to use.
When it comes purely to video conferencing features, Zoom has a slight edge over Google Meet, offering a comprehensive assortment of options at various price points. Zoom’s most expensive plan provides support for the largest number of participants.
That said, if you’re looking for a bigger collection of applications to use in tandem with your video conferencing service, then Google Meet might be a better fit. The platform, formerly known as Google Hangouts Meet, comes bundled with other helpful Google services as part of a Google Workspace subscription.
$6-$25 per user
$15-$20 per license
Up to 250
Up to 1,000
Meeting time limit
up to 24 hours
Up to 30 hours
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Pricing and plans
Google Meet and Zoom are both available in a variety of plans for different monthly costs, with certain features only available via certain packages.
The basic version of Zoom is available for free, but there are some limitations to this option. Notably, you can only host meetings of up to 100 people and group meetings can only be up to 40 minutes.
Pricing for Zoom’s premium plans can get a little complicated if you need more than what the free version has to offer. Here’s a full rundown of packages:
Up to 100
Up to 100
Up to 300
Up to 500
Starting with the Pro plan, members receive social media streaming, 1 GB of cloud recording, and personal meeting IDs. When you step up to Business, you get some advanced administrative features, like transcript recording, managed domains, and company branding. Enterprise upgrades you to unlimited cloud storage.
You can also add the “Large Meetings” add-on to any paid plan to get support for up to 1,000 participants.
Outside of its workplace plans, Zoom also has specific solutions geared toward education. Education plans are available for a minimum of 20 hosts and a max of 149 hosts. Each host can have unlimited meetings with support for up to 300 participants. You can find more information on pricing and features for Zoom’s Education plan here.
Google Meet plans
When it comes to Google Meet, you also have a few different options to choose from. Though a free version of Meet wasn’t originally available, Google now offers free access to a limited version of the service.
To unlock more features, you’ll need to pay for Google Meet as part of a subscription to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). Workspace comes with a full suite of additional Google cloud services, including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and more. Here’s a full breakdown of Google Meet options via Google’s different Workspace plans:
Up to 100
One hour (groups)
Up to 100
Up to 150
Up to 250
Up to 250
The Business Standard plan adds recording support. Meanwhile, Business Plus adds attendance tracking. Finally the Enterprise plan adds a noise-cancellation feature and “in-domain” live streaming.
Zoom is a dedicated video conferencing service built by a company that is mainly focused on that platform. As such, Zoom is a little more comprehensive than Google Meet. Sure, Meet scores points thanks to its seamless integration with other Google apps, and the fact that it comes bundled with a host of other services, but if you’re really only looking for a video conferencing platform, those other apps won’t matter all that much.
Google Meet caps out at 250 participants and 24 hours, but Zoom can support up to 30 hours and has an option to add support for up to 1,000 participants for an extra fee. Most teams won’t need the expanded support that Zoom provides – but for some businesses, this ability could be the deciding factor.
When it comes to general features, Meet and Zoom both offer many of the same basic functions, like call encryption, support for up to 720p HD video, and presentation modes that allow for screensharing to other participants.
Google Meet has also made some big improvements over the last few months by adding additional options that were initially only found on Zoom, like polls, a tiled gallery layout for larger calls, and video filters so you can change your background. Both Zoom and Meet will let you split up calls into breakout rooms as well.
You can go further with both video conferencing services by hosting a session with a whiteboard. Participants in Meet and Zoom can also raise their hands if they have to say something in a class or company meeting.
Though Google Meet was initially missing a lot of these extra functions, the difference between both services has steadily decreased.
Perhaps one of the most important things to consider is how each platform integrates with other services. Notably, Google Meet allows users to integrate meetings with other teams using Skype for Business, and other video meeting systems based on the SIP and H.323 standards. Meet also integrates with additional apps, including other Google services. For example, the service integrates well with Google Calendar
Zoom offers some great integrations too – including some Google apps and services. For example, Zoom integrates with Facebook Workplace, Skype for Business, Salesforce, Microsoft Outlook, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and more. While Meet may make integration with Google services a little easier, Zoom still allows many of those same integrations as well.
The bottom line
Zoom offers support for the most amount of people and the longest meeting times, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right option for everyone. Zoom’s edge over Meet has diminished greatly over the last few months as Google added a lot of new features. Still, if you just want a service purely for video conferencing, then Zoom has a slight edge.
That said, if you want to use other Google services that come included with a Google Workspace subscription, then Meet will be more than good enough for your remote work or learning needs.
This is a very unique time to build a business. Brick and mortar companies are struggling and local “mom & pop” shops are closing at a record pace. Yet, there’s record growth for online service providers like Netflix, Amazon, DoorDash, and Zoom.
The one thing all of these growing companies have in common? They support the “stay-at-home” lifestyle and the “new normal” of working remotely.
Entrepreneurs can learn from an evolving global economy and the new normal of work. Here’s how some businesses did it:
Restaurants admitted they can not replace the experience of dining in their establishments. But meals-to-go, with the inclusion of cashless payments, allowed restaurateurs to have a new lifeline.
Online shopping has been around for quite some time. When the pandemic hit, the retail industry embraced the new segment of customers – mall-goers – to encourage them to buy. Online purchasing and shipping options made the transition easy for customers, and Amazon has cashed in record profits.
Reduced movie-goers spending did not stop the entertainment industry from thriving. Companies pivoted to provide streaming services for stay-at-home amusement. Theaters, on the other hand, got destroyed, for obvious reasons.
Local tourism, virtual tours, and travel-to-nowhere flights and cruises allowed travel lust individuals to experience traveling albeit limited. Personally, I think this is an incredible time to travel (by car) because not many are!
What made some businesses thrive and some permanently close? They adapted to the disruption through innovation and hard work. These two characteristics are what entrepreneurs are made of.
My own COVID adaptation
Just like every business owner, I was really worried when the lockdown was announced in March 2020. We had several clients cancel their virtual assistant services that we provided. Nevertheless, my business thrived. Since COVID, I have experienced an over 100% growth in our virtual assistant staffing agency for entrepreneurs and startups all around the world.
That’s because last year, building a “virtual team” sounded cool, but today, it’s a necessity for businesses to survive the current economic conditions.
Yes, a virtual team is the “new normal” of work. It is about time you hire one.
My secret weapon
My executive assistant Ysabelle, who is virtual, starts working for me one hour before I even wake up. This arrangement works because the first thing I do when I wake up is grab my phone off of my nightstand to check my messages. Now, Ysabelle goes through my emails and clears out all the hundreds of messages that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on. She leaves the ones that need my attention marked as “unread” with a flag.
Because I have over 100 people on my team, she knows exactly who’s responsible for certain operations in the business. So when I get an email that requires action on someone else’s part, Ysabelle sends the email to that team member and responds to the sender that we’ve got it taken care of. The sender probably thinks I sent the response – and that’s the point.
You see, I didn’t need to be in that conversation. With Ysabelle’s help, I can focus on myself and the really important activities for the day.
Why did I share this with you? I want you to understand that you can only do so much. The biggest lie is “I was about to do something but I ran out of time.” It’s simply not true. You just don’t want to be held accountable, or you don’t have adequate help so you have to prioritize what you do and don’t do each day.
If you are the only one in your business who knows everything, you are going to be a slave to your business. One of my colleagues once said, “If you don’t have an assistant, you are one.” Think about that.
Remote work is no longer a thing of the past. I don’t believe it’s going to go away. The current global crisis was a catalyst for the growing move to a virtually connected world. There is hardly anything we do in our business that can’t be done remotely, unless you physically make, or build something. Entrepreneurs who can adapt and evolve to the new “virtual workplace” and see its benefits will be able to future-proof their business as the economy moves remote.
Just as other brand names make their way into the dictionary, Zoom has now become a daily verb and a noun. We Zoom each other, we say “Let’s have a Zoom,” and we get Zoom fatigue. Now there’s Zoom burnout as well – a phrase that encompasses a lot more than the eye strain of too much screen time.
Emerging research shows we get less done and we may end up unnecessarily replicating communication in our personal and working lives. A new study highlights the causes of this fatigue and how to deal with it.
Too much Zooming can become mentally demanding. There’s a lot of evidence that when people are mentally tired, they tend to act less efficiently. Sustained performance on a mentally demanding task decreases over time.
Also, when we’re fatigued, our working memory performs less well. We become forgetful, our listening quality degrades, and recording Zoom meetings for later viewing simply creates more energy sapping screen time.
The online meetings designed to get things done could be the very things harming our productivity, just at a time when margins are particularly tight and businesses are financially on the edge. And there’s some evidence that using audio only might be more productive than an overload of screen meetings.
The new study highlights the psychological impact of spending hours each day on a range of video calling platforms. The study found people often reach “nonverbal overload” with too much eye contact. This means we need to work harder to send and receive all those nonverbal signals that are lost when many of us are just a head filling the screen.
In face-to-face meetings, another study points out, nonverbal communication flows naturally and “we are rarely consciously attending to our own gestures and other nonverbal cues.” This is one of the reasons many people can’t wait to get back to face-to-face. For others, Zooming is fine until the fatigue kicks in, then an unease arises.
This is where the good old phone meeting could come in. The same study describes “a wonderful illusion that occurs during phone calls.” We’re no longer weighed down with nonverbal overload or eye contact meltdown. We may even stretch, move around the room, even make a cup of tea as we speak.
We tend to imagine we are getting 100% of the others’ attention on a phone call. The researchers conclude that “only a minority of calls require staring at another person’s face to successfully communicate.”
Yet, evidence for seriously considering meeting over the phone comes from other academic work that goes back a lot further. Early studies comparing TV radio, newspapers, and computer screens identified newspapers as enabling significantly highest recall of facts. Computer screens surprisingly performed closer to newspapers and better than TV and radio. So, one up for the screens? The problem is we tend to remember less when we have screen fatigue.
In contrast, a lot of research confirms how radio stimulates the imagination. “I prefer radio to TV because the pictures are clearer,” goes the old saying. Whether with the phone, radio, or podcasts, our active imagination is more engaged actively listening than when we passively view. And we can become very passive when we’re screen exhausted.
Some neuroscience research has confirmed that when our imaginations are active they can become more emotionally stimulated. Scientists have interpreted this as an indicator that the audio content requires active imagination on the part of the listener.
One further piece of research becomes critical here, suggesting that imagination runs hand in hand with motivation. According to this view, imagination can make us more goal directed, more likely to get things done. Zoom fatigue can have the opposite effect. The imaginative process inherent in the audio call increases the likelihood that we’ll make good on our intentions.
If this is true – and there needs to be more research in the problem – it will certainly be time to become more conscious of when and how often we meet on Zoom, for how long and for what purpose.
Try holding some of your work meetings by phone. It might seem strange at first and take a bit of getting used to, but you might just find your meetings are more productive and satisfying. Your imagination might kick into gear and re-fire your motivation. I’m not saying banish all the Zooming, just re-balance your use of audio and screen.
A Zoom spokesperson told Insider in a statement the company “complies with all applicable tax laws” in countries where it does business and that it “has invested heavily in research and development activities to build and enhance its communications technology – development activity that is specifically encouraged under current law.”
But research and development credits accounted for just 1% of Zoom’s tax bill reductions, while around 99% of its savings were a result of paying executives $302.4 million in stock-based compensation, compared to $32.1 million the year before.
Zoom paid just $5.7 million total in taxes last year for an effective tax rate of 0.8%. But $3.9 million of that was paid on the company’s $14.1 million in foreign profits, for an effective rate of around 28%, highlighting major discrepancies in how the US tax system treats corporations.
Zoom’s (legal) use of stock payments to executives to reduce its tax bill reignited criticism from lawmakers and advocates who argue in favor of closing loopholes that allow massive, profitable corporations to pay less in taxes than millions of Americans.
“If you paid $14.99 a month for a Zoom Pro membership, you paid more to Zoom than it paid in federal income taxes even as it made $660 million in profits last year – a 4,000 percent increase since 2019. Yes. It’s time to end a rigged tax code that benefits the wealthy & powerful,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted Sunday.
“Companies that compensate their leadership with stock options can write off, for tax purposes, huge expenses that far exceed their actual cost,” Matthew Gardner, a senior fellow at the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, wrote in a post breaking down Zoom’s tax strategy.
“This is a strategy that has been leveraged effectively by virtually every tech giant in the last decade, from Apple to Facebook to Microsoft. Zoom’s success in using stock options to avoid taxes is neither surprising nor (currently) illegal,” Gardner said, adding that along with its use of accelerated depreciation and R&D credits, is the same “recipe that Amazon and Netflix have used with such success to reduce their federal tax bills during the Trump corporate tax era so far.”
Amazon has also drawn the ire of Sanders and others for paying $0 in federal income taxes. Many companies, including Amazon, Delta Airlines, IBM, JetBlue, and Netflix, have even managed to achieve negative effective tax rates – meaning taxpayers paid those companies more via subsidies than the companies paid the government in taxes.
President Joe Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28% – higher than the current rate, but lower than the 35% companies were taxed at before former President Donald Trump took office. However, simply raising the tax rate doesn’t necessarily close the loopholes allowing companies like Zoom to pay $0 to the federal government.
While the Zoom mobile app should automatically download updates, you may need to manually check for updates on the Zoom desktop app if you don’t click “update” when the pop-up first appears.
If you use the app frequently, you’ll want to make sure you are using the latest version on your desktop to avoid any potential issues. By ignoring this optional update notification, you will only be prompted to update the next time you use the app.
Here’s how to manually update the Zoom desktop client in a few simple steps.
While working from home, we’ve grown accustomed to using Zoom for work and for fun, so you’ve probably seen people change the scenery behind them while using Zoom’s virtual backgrounds.
This feature allows you to change your background to one of Zoom’s presets or to a photo or video you upload yourself.
While it’s fun to change your surroundings to a funny photo, there is the added benefit of privacy. Working from home doesn’t mean we want coworkers to gain a glimpse into our homes, and the feature is great if you haven’t had time to declutter your workspace.
Changing your background is easy. For the best results, you may want to purchase a green screen but it’s not necessary.
Also, for virtual backgrounds to appear, the admin of the call (which may be you) may have to enable the feature.
How a green screen can improve your Zoom backgrounds
If a clean, quality background is important for your work, you may want to consider using a green screen.
Green screening is an old filmmaking technique also known as “chroma keying.” We’ll save the history lesson, but the basic idea is a uniform background in high contrast with the color of human skin tones is easier to digitally paste over with another image.
Consistent, uniform lighting also helps separate you from the background, whether or not you have a green screen behind you.
You’ll also want to avoid wearing green unless you prefer to look like a floating head with floating arms.
Without a green screen, your virtual background may look imperfect or “glitchy” at times with objects of the room you’re in. For casual and most work settings, this is not a big deal.
But if you’re giving a presentation or livestreaming, you probably want the viewer’s focus centered on you instead of a distracting background.
Recording a Zoom meeting can be useful for people who weren’t able to attend the meeting live. It’s also great if the meeting was very long, and you need to refer back to specific segments of it later.
Here’s how to record a Zoom meeting using the desktop app or the mobile app, as well as a guide to setting up recording permissions if you’re the host.
Zoom shares jumped 9% in premarket trading on Tuesday after the videoconferencing platform posted better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Monday and said it expected strong growth to continue this year.
Zoom was up 8.6% as of 5:45 a.m. ET, taking shares to $444.88 in the premarket. The stock had jumped 9.65% on Monday before closing at $409.66 a share ahead of the earnings announcement.
Total revenue for the quarter to the end of January came in at $882.5 million, above analysts’ expectation for $811.8 million.
Revenue was up 369% year-on-year, the company said, reflecting the rapid rise of Zoom to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic, when people and businesses around the world turned to the service to keep in touch.
The big question for investors, however, is whether Zoom can keep up its rapid growth. The company’s founder and CEO, Eric Yuan, pleased the markets Monday by saying it could.
“As we enter FY2022, we believe we are well positioned for strong growth with our innovative video communications platform,” he said in a statement to accompany the earnings.
Zoom said it expected total revenue for the financial year ending in early 2022 to be $3.76 billion to $3.78 billion, above Wall Street estimates.
Despite the bullish forecasts and rising stock price, Zoom’s shares remain well below their October high of more than $560. That reflects investors’ expectations that the reopening of economies will pull people away from the technologies that have become central to their lives.
The company’s shares are up more than 20% in 2021, however, outperforming the Nasdaq’s 5% rise.