Facebook going to permanently shift tens of thousands of jobs to remote work

Facebook May 22, 2020

In a move that illustrates how swiftly the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the worldwide economy, Facebook said today that it might eventually begin allowing most of its employees to request a permanent change in their jobs to allow them to work remotely. the corporate will begin today by making most of its US job openings eligible for remote hires and start taking applications for permanent remote work among its workforce later this year.

“We’re getting to be the foremost forward-leaning company on remote work on our scale,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with The Verge. “We got to do that during a way that’s thoughtful and responsible, so we’re getting to do that during a measured way. But i feel that it’s possible that over subsequent five to 10 years — maybe closer to 10 than five, but somewhere therein range — i feel we could get to about half the corporate working remotely permanently.”

Facebook, which has quite 48,000 employees working in 70 offices worldwide, is that the largest company yet to maneuver aggressively into remote add the wake of the pandemic. Twitter announced last week it might give most of its workforce the choice of working remotely, and Coinbase followed with an identical announcement on Wednesday. Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke said Thursday that it might immediately begin a shift to permanent remote work. Google CEO Sundar Pichai told The Verge in the week that the corporate is considering additional remote work flexibility beyond letting most employees stay home through the top of the year.

Collectively, the embrace of remote work upends decades of conventional wisdom in Silicon Valley , where the most important companies are built on the thought of collaboration in close physical proximity. Until recently, Facebook paid new employees a bonus of up to $15,000 if they agreed to measure within 10 miles of the office. Now many of them are going to be ready to work wherever they like — although Facebook will reduce the pay of workers who move to less costly areas.

In the near term, Facebook’s shift to remote work has been borne out necessarily . When the corporate begins reopening a number of its offices July 6th, it plans to scale back occupancy to 25 percent of normal, the corporate said in the week . and therefore the added safety requirements for coming into the office, which include mandatory masks and temperature checks, are likely to stay many workers away for for much longer .

But after surveying employees and talking with executives at other companies built on remote employees, Zuckerberg said he became persuaded of the advantages of a more distributed workforce. The move will open up Facebook jobs to a way wider pool of applicants, he said, and will have a positive effect on the environment. (Among other reasons, remote work could enable thousands of Facebook employees to abandon their daily hours-long commutes to and from its headquarters in Menlo Park.)

The move also forces Facebook, which is investing billions in creating next-generation tools for communication, to believe those tools to urge work done. therein sense, the move to remote work represents a high-stakes initiative to urge Facebook employees to “dogfood” new products involving augmented reality, computer game , the company’s Portal smart display, and its Workplace collaboration tool — and to enhance them sooner out necessarily , since the corporate is counting on them to urge work done.

“VR and AR is all about giving people remote presence,” Zuckerberg said. “So if you’re you’re long on VR and AR and on video chat, you've got to believe some capacity that you’re helping people be ready to do whatever they need from wherever they're . So i feel that that means a worldview that might cause allowing people to figure more remotely over time.”

But the move also comes with risks. Since March, employees at Facebook and other large tech companies are performing on plans that were set in motion by workers collaborating together on campus. It remains an open question whether companies are often as creative or productive within the future in environments where they aren’t brainstorming round the same council table . (Some would say that Facebook has not been particularly creative in recent years, anyway.)

Zuckerberg said he expects to maneuver slowly toward remote work, but would begin by making more of the company’s open roles available to remote workers. Others will likely still prefer performing at a corporation office — particularly younger employees, Zuckerberg said.

Another effort to preserve team camaraderie will come from regularly inviting employees onto campus for “onsites,” Zuckerberg said — the on-campus version of the offsite retreats that were common within the business world until the pandemic hit. In fact, he said, travel costs related to onsite meetings would likely wipe out many of the savings the corporate might otherwise expect from a reduced land footprint.

Still, many questions on the company’s shift to remote work remain. Facebook wont to lure new employees with a campus designed by Frank Gehry and lavish perks; what is going to it offer employees who are performing from home? How will a mostly remote workforce affect efforts around diversity and inclusion? How will younger employees find mentorship during a world where they rarely interact with their mentors in person?

Answering a number of those questions will mean building new products, Zuckerberg said.

“I think the tools we've today are fairly transactional — that’s a weakness within the ecosystem,” he said. “Email and messaging — this stuff are designed for exchanging thoughts, but not hanging call at . It’s almost like what you actually want is to possess a team just spend unstructured time together.”

Zuckerberg has shifted from inviting top managers over for monthly dinners at his house to hanging out using the company’s new Rooms product, he said. He’s also experimenting with holding management meetings in VR.

Assuming that the COVID-19 risk eventually subsides, Zuckerberg plans to form a minimum of a partial return to the office. The role of CEO has historically required travel and in-person meetings which may not be possible to try to to online. But Zuckerberg said that he, too, would likely still work from home quite he did before the pandemic.

“I do think I’ll decide to spend more of my time remotely over time,” he said.

Read The Verge’s full interview with Mark Zuckerberg about how he made this decision, what tools he wants to create , and whether he plans to return to the office when the COVID-19 threat subsides.