Facebook embraces remote work beyond Silicon Valley

Marco Green
May 22, 2020

Zuckerberg's surprise announcement - which followed Twitter's announcement earlier this month that employees would eventually be allowed to work from home indefinitely - will eventually be a "win win" for workers and employers alike, according to one expert.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in an internal town-hall livestream Thursday, said that many of Facebook employees will be allowed to work from home permanently even after the coronavirus crisis ends.

About 95 per cent of Facebook employees work remotely due to pandemic concerns, and the company has told them they can continue to do their jobs that way through next year if desired.

But Facebook is a much larger company, with almost 50,000 employees, and it went further in laying out a novel proposed structure for remote work. Its decision is likely to have a pronounced impact on the San Francisco area, where the tech sector's rapid growth has strained regional infrastructure. The company is also looking to create new "hubs" with hundreds of remote workers in Atlanta, Dallas and Denver.

"I think we're going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work, at our scale for sure", Zuckerberg said.

"Most of us are working remotely at this point, so it doesn't make sense for us to bring people into offices that a lot of them aren't going to be able to go into anyway", Zuckerberg said.

But those remote workers will have to alert Facebook if they move to a new location by January 1. and may have their pay adjusted accordingly, he added.

The effect on costs is unclear, Zuckerberg said, as savings will be partially offset by additional costs related to travel and technologies associated with setting up home offices.

He said the company was committed to keeping its current office spaces, which include a tony Menlo Park headquarters designed by architect Frank Gehry, featuring a rooftop garden and a courtyard sheltered by redwood trees.

Facebook, like other Silicon Valley companies, was among the first USA employers to close offices in the early days of the pandemic. Zuckerberg said salaries will be adjusted if Facebook employees opt to live in less-pricey regions, consistent with the company's existing cost-of-living calculations.

"We pay very well, basically at the top of the market, but we pay a market rate".

He outlined steps Facebook will take to adapt operations to remote work for the long-term, saying it is quite possible that about half of the company's employees could doing their jobs that way within 10 years. "But we're going to do this in a way that is measured and thoughtful and responsible and in phases over time".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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