Facebook will allow all full-time employees to work from home on a permanent basis, provided they can do their jobs remotely. The company also plans on re-opening its offices to 50 percent capacity by September, with full capacity expected in October.
“We’ve learned over the past year that good work can get done anywhere, and I’m even more optimistic that remote work at scale is possible, particularly as remote video presence and virtual reality continue to improve,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in an internal email, according to CNBC.
Facebook’s new remote-work plans are a change from just last month, when the company announced that employees would be able to work remotely until one month after their respective workplace reached 50 percent capacity, at which point they would be expected back. Like other tech giants, Facebook is also emphasizing a hybrid work model, in which employees come into the office only a few days per week.
The tech giants are also wrestling with how to best reconcile their employees’ desire for remote and hybrid work with their executives’ desire to have the workforce in the office as much as possible. Some of them, such as Amazon, have decided to embrace an “office-centric culture,” whereas others, most notably Twitter, have chosen all-remote as the way of the corporate future.
One of Facebook’s biggest rivals, Google, is committed to having most of its employees engage in a hybrid work model. “We’ll move to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend approximately three days in the office and two days wherever they work best,” Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai recently wrote in an email posted to Google’s corporate blog. “Since in-office time will be focused on collaboration, your product areas and functions will help decide which days teams will come together in the office.”
Google plans on implementing “work-from-anywhere weeks,” where employees will be able to “work from a location other than their main office for up to 4 weeks per year (with manager approval),” according to the company. Apple will do something similar. Even if you have no intention of working for a tech giant, it’s worth keeping an eye on such announcements, because these initiatives have a way of trickling down to smaller companies that believe mimicking Big Tech policies can lead to Big Tech growth and profits.
Facebook seems intent on giving its employees similar flexibility—and with good reason. With the tech unemployment rate low, and the demand for specialized talent so high, it risks losing talented candidates to other companies more willing to embrace ultra-flexible schedules. The big question is whether Facebook will still enact salary cuts for those employees who choose to move to places with a lower cost of living, a controversial policy it announced last year.