The Chief Executive Officer of Facebook Inc. (Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday, May 21, 2020, that he encouraged permanent remote work of its employees even after the coronavirus lockdowns come to ease. Zuckerberg’s move was taken in an attempt to accelerate the tech sector’s geographic diversification away from its home office in Silicon Valley, California.
Remote Work outside Silicon Valley
Zuckerberg announced that the social media platform would start “aggressively opening up remote hiring” in July as part of its planning to meet the expectation that about half its workforce would eventually do their jobs outside Facebook’s offices over the next five to 10 years. The move would be a creation of new work culture in a post-coronavirus world since the pandemic had disturbed office and commuting habits for companies around the world.
Facebook has introduced a more “measured approach” for the existing employees and would classify based on job function and past performance by set a January 1, 2021 deadline for staff to update the company on their new locations for tax purposes, stated by Zuckerberg. Earlier this month, tech companies including Twitter and payment company Square both led by Jack Dorsey had first made similar announcements to permit remote work indefinitely.
However, considering the massive workforce of Facebook, which has nearly 50,000 employees, it would be a significant and novel proposed structure for remote work. Meanwhile, the decision is likely to have a major impact on the San Francisco area, where the tech sector’s rapid growth has strained regional infrastructure.
Flexible Approach for Employees
Zuckerberg said the company’s internal surveys indicated that about 60% of Facebook employees preferred a flexible approach to work, with a mix of remote and office-based functions. In that group irrespective of gender-wise classification, he added, half of them preferred to move to another region if given the choice.
Facebook, which plans to hire 10,000 engineers and product employees this year, also declared to build three new “hubs” in Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver where remote workers in those areas could occasionally convene. Nonetheless, Zuckerberg said, “These aren’t necessarily offices,” although the company would likely create “some kind of physical space” to foster community. He added, “The idea for these hubs is that we want to create scale. We want to focus the recruiting energy in some cities where we can get to hundreds of engineers.”
The company reported that the total effect on costs of the shift to remote work was unclear but stated that the sky-high compensation packages common in Silicon Valley would not necessarily be transferred to other parts of the country. Citing that salaries would be adjusted according to employees’ location, Zuckerberg said, “We pay very well, basically at the top of the market, but we pay a market rate. And that varies by location, so we’re going to continue that principle here.”
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