I think Facebook will be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale,” the tech CEO said on social media on Thursday The future of Facebook’s work environment is going to change over the next decade.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that over the next several years, up to half of his employees could be working from home. Like many companies, Facebook’s employees have been working remotely during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Over the next 5-10 years, I think we could have 50% of our people working remotely, but we’re going to get there in a measured way,” Zuckerberg, 36, wrote in a Facebook post.
“I think Facebook will be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale, and we’ve been working on a thoughtful and responsible plan to do this,” Zuckerberg explained. “There are still a lot of open questions about how this will work, so we’ll need to keep learning and improving as we go.”
Zuckerberg listed several benefits to working remotely, including being able to access talent outside of big cities and environmental benefits due to reduced commuting.
“Since so much of what we build is around helping people feel connected and present with others no matter where they are — like our private messaging apps, video chat, Workplace, Portal, and eventually virtual and augmented reality — living our values will help us accelerate the development of these technologies,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Zuckerberg said while many Facebook employees enjoy working from home, the majority of employees are looking forward to getting back into the office.
“About 40% are interested in full-time remote work, but more than 50% want to get back into the offices as soon as possible,” Zuckerberg said of a survey of employees. “Of the people who want to work remotely, around 75% said they might move to another place — and of those, 38% said they’d move to a big city while the rest said they’d live elsewhere.”
The tech executive acknowledged that remote work isn’t “all positive.”
“Having kids home from school has been tough for parents, and people living on their own have struggled too. It can be hard to find the right work life balance without a clear boundary between work and home,” Zuckerberg said, adding that’s he is “concerned” about “weaker social bonds between colleagues, especially new hires, and there’s an open question about whether groups of people are less creative when they’re not together.”
The Facebook leader said that while it will take time to figure out the new normal, the tech company will start out by focusing on remote hiring, specifically on hiring “experienced engineers” within four hours of cities that Facebook has an engineer office in, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland and San Diego. He added that Facebook is setting up hubs in Atlanta, Dallas and Denver.
“This is probably overdue. Over the past few decades, economic growth in the US has been quite concentrated, with major companies often hiring in a handful metropolitan areas,” Zuckerberg wrote. “That means we’ve been missing out on a lot of talented people just because they happen to live outside a major hub. Creating opportunities beyond these cities could also be part of the economic recovery, especially if more companies hire remotely as well.”
Zuckerberg’s announcement comes after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey notified employees that they will be allowed to work remotely indefinitely.
“So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” Dorsey said in an email to employees, Tech Crunch reported. “If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”