Half of Facebook's staff to remote work permanently

The company's ten-year-plan includes an 'aggressive remote hiring strategy'

Facebook will follow a string of other tech companies in embracing permanent remote working once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided as part of a new ten-year plan.

Around half of the social networking giant’s workforce will perform their roles outside of Facebook offices within ten years, the CEO has revealed in a weekly Q&A with employees, also live-streamed publicly.

The plan, which involves “aggressively opening up remote hiring”, may also lead to reductions in pay if people are employed in regions that are less expensive to live in, specifically those areas outside of Silicon Valley. This will be coupled with a measured approach to open up permanent remote working for existing employees.

“It’s clear COVID has changed a lot about our lives, and that certainly includes the way most of us work,” he said, adding 95% of Facebook’s current 50,000-strong workforce are performing their duties remotely.

“I think it’s really important to take a long-term approach to how we think about remote work because this is fundamentally about changing our culture in the way that we are all going to work long-term. So, I’m optimistic about this direction, but I want to make sure that we move forward in a measured way.” 

Facebook expects that, with social distancing measures in place when offices reopen, the company can only support 25% density and capacity in its workspaces. It also believes that there’s little point constraining hiring to only those who can go into offices when many existing workers won’t be able to do so.

Zuckerberg also thinks COVID-19 will be “with us” for some time to come, with the precise details around Facebook’s long-term remote working plans to be kept in a state of flux. How the plan is implemented will change depending on how society fights the virus.

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Staff had already been extended the option to continue working remotely throughout the summer, while company executives have decided to cancel all planned events of 50 or more people up to July 2021.

The company follows in the footsteps of Twitter, which told employees they can choose to work from home forever if they wish, even once the worst of the pandemic has passed. This is also true for Square, which announced this week it’s given its employees the flexibility to work “where they feel most creative and productive”.

OpenText, meanwhile, announced at the beginning of this month it would close half its offices for permanent remote working, as part of a wider restructuring programme.

Facebook’s plans to shift its own workers to permanent remote working comes amid the introduction of a slew of new features for its Microsoft Teams and Slack rival, Workplace.

The social network’s enterprise collaboration platform has been updated with tools to better support video conferencing, as well as announcing the general availability of Oculus for Business to support large scale VR deployments.

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