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Facebook the latest to delay office return plans in the US

13 Aug 2021

The social media giant has followed the example of a number of other US tech firms, delaying the return to offices until January 2022.

Facebook has said it will delay plans to bring its employees back into the office in the US due to rising levels of Covid-19.

The social media giant told its workers this week that they do not need to return to their offices in person until January 2022.

Facebook had hoped to have offices in the US fully reopened by October, albeit with strict public health measures in place, but a spike in cases of the Delta variant among unvaccinated people has prompted the company to push back plans.

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It is unclear whether Facebook’s policy will be implemented in Ireland, however a spokesperson for Facebook said it was a possibility for some countries outside of the US.

“Given the recent health data showing rising Covid cases based on the Delta variant, our teams in the US will not be required to go back to the office until January 2022,” Tracy Clayton, a Facebook spokesperson, said in a statement

“We expect this to be the case for some countries outside of the US, as well. We continue to monitor the situation and work with experts to ensure our return to office plans prioritise everyone’s safety.”

Clayton added that “data, not dates” would inform the company’s decision to let employees back to offices in person.

Other tech firms including Amazon, Google and Lyft have made similar decisions, saying that employees will not return to offices in the US until 2022.

In July, Twitter closed its New York and San Francisco offices only two weeks after reopening them, citing concerns around the spike in cases of the new variant.

Some tech companies have also said that it will be mandatory for workers to be vaccinated prior to returning to offices. Google announced its vaccine mandate for employees last month.

“Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post. “We’re rolling this policy out in the US in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months.”

Other major employers including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have since implemented similar policies.

The Irish Government is still holding off on making any definitive announcement regarding the return to workplaces here, but Minister Eamon Ryan, TD, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland recently that the return to work would be done “probably on a hybrid basis, a staged basis”.

“It won’t be everyone back on 1 September, but I think we do need to start planning for that,” he added.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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