Facebook Lets More Employees Choose Full-Time Remote Work or Return to the Office
By Chip Cutter
Facebook Inc. is giving most of its employees a choice: Get
permission to keep working at home or go to the office at least
half the time.
The social-media giant told its roughly 60,000 employees
Wednesday that it will expand remote-work eligibility to all levels
of the company, including early-career employees and entry-level
engineers. The company said it would likely open most of its U.S.
offices at half capacity in September, and then fully in October.
Once that occurs, employees who haven't received approval to stay
remote will be expected to come into the office, at minimum, 50% of
the time, according to an internal announcement.
Facebook's plans come as many of Silicon Valley's biggest
companies are firming up office reopening plans, many of which
include a combination of remote and in-office work.
Across industries, many companies are offering staff greater
flexibility than pre-pandemic as they adopt plans to go back to the
office. That is particularly the case in Silicon Valley, where many
tech firms saw employees relocate from the Bay Area to
less-expensive locales during the pandemic.
Alphabet Inc.'s Google has said it will move to a hybrid
schedule, where most employees work from the office three days a
week, while some will be allowed to work from home permanently or
shift to a different geographic location. Apple Inc. recently said
it wants most office workers to show up Mondays, Tuesdays and
Thursdays, with the option to work remotely on Wednesdays and
Some other companies aren't pushing employees to go back to the
office at all. Spotify Technology SA in February adopted a "Work
from Anywhere" model letting employees choose whether they want to
return to an office, work from home or some combination. And
business-software provider Salesforce.com Inc. told employees that
they have the option to work from home at least through the end of
the year, even as it reopens offices. "The 9-to-5 workday is dead,"
Brent Hyder, Salesforce's chief people officer, said in a blog post
earlier this year.
Unlike Apple, Facebook chose not to designate specific days it
expects employees in offices because the way teams work can vary
greatly across the company. Instead, it will let individual teams
determine when they come in, said Brynn Harrington, the company's
vice president of people growth. "If you think about setting days,
it's very hard to do that at a company level and have it connect to
the work itself," she said. "Each team needs something
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has previously said he
expects as much as half of Facebook's staff to work from home
within 10 years.
In a memo to employees, Mr. Zuckerberg said he planned to
personally spend as much as half of the next year working remotely.
"I've found that working remotely has given me more space for
long-term thinking and helped me spend more time with my family,
which has made me happier and more productive at work," he
Yet even as Facebook embraces more distributed work, the company
wants offices to remain places for relationship building and
collaboration, Ms. Harrington said.
Employees must receive permission from their manager and
ultimately approval from a company vice president to work remotely,
she said. Some roles, such as in the company's data centers or
hardware labs, can't be performed virtually. Other individual
circumstances, or the needs of a specific team, may preclude remote
Though she declined to say how many employees had chosen to stay
remote so far, Ms. Harrington said Facebook had approved about 90%
of the remote-work requests it had received. Many who have asked
for such arrangements have done so because they are relocating to
new cities, away from offices, she said.
Facebook previously told employees that locations affect
compensation, and that it could reduce salaries for those who move
to lower-cost areas.
The company is also leaving open the possibility that its
workplace plans will further shift next year. Its guidance on how
it expects non-remote employees to use its offices extends through
June 2022. "The rationale there is that there continue to be a lot
of unknowns," Ms. Harrington said. "We know we don't have all the
Write to Chip Cutter at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 09, 2021 13:15 ET (17:15 GMT)
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