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‘No end in sight’: Facebook employees to continue working from home

31 Jul 2020472 Views

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has no plans to return to the office just yet, in light of the number of Covid-19 cases in the US.

As Covid-19 cases continue to surge in the US, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said there are currently no plans to bring staff back into offices.

On an earnings call yesterday (30 July), Zuckerberg said: “There’s currently no end in sight for when our teams will be able to return to our offices. It is incredibly disappointing because it seems like the US could have avoided this current surge of cases if our government had handled this better.”

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Looking ahead, he added that he expects up to 50pc of staff to be long-term remote workers within the next five to 10 years, which will enable the company to “attract and retain broader pools of talent” regardless of where they live.

“During this time, we found that most Facebook employees can productively work remotely,” Zuckerberg said. “Even before Covid, we had a long-term goal of enabling more remote work since the ability to feel present even when you’re remote is a core aspect of our own product work on video presence, workplace, and virtual and augmented reality.

“We’re using this moment to accelerate these plans.”

Facebook CFO Dave Wehner added that the company is pleased with its ability to “recruit, onboard and retain talent in this environment”. He said that the company ended the second quarter of 2020 with more than 52,500 full-time employees.

Remote shift

Facebook was one of the first major companies to shift to remote working in March when Covid-19 began to spread across Europe and the US, accompanied by tech firms such as Twitter, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.

When the majority of Facebook employees were asked to work from home, staff were offered up to a month of paid leave as well as more flexible working hours to look after sick family members. Full-time workers also received bonuses of $1,000 to pay for childcare and remote working equipment.

The company said it would also give every member of staff an “exceeds expectations” performance rating for the first half of 2020, meaning each person would get more than their full bonus for the first six months of the year.

In May, Zuckerberg had said that Facebook offices would begin to reopen in July, prioritising the return of “critical” employees in content moderation and engineering, but that most employees would continue working from home until the end of 2020. This came after the company called off all large in-person events until at least 2021.

Other major tech companies have extended remote working policies in recent weeks, including Google. Meanwhile, Fujitsu, Twitter and Siemens have announced plans for more permanent hybrid working arrangements.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa joined the team as senior Careers reporter in July 2019 with previous experience in science communication and media. With a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication, she is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos.

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