Facebook to maintain remote working despite US reopening guidelines

Zuckerberg says only critical workers will return to the office before the end of the summer

The majority of Facebook employees will continue to work remotely throughout the summer, Mark Zuckerberg has announced.

The CEO also said that all physical events have been cancelled until at least July 2021. 

Zuckerberg's announcement comes as the US government revealed its three-phase strategy for states to get out of lockdown, with president Donald Trump suggesting the country was "passed the peak" of new cases of the coronavirus. The plans came shortly after the country's COVID-19 death toll passed 30,000, and New York City reported a rise in virus fatalities.

In a post on his Facebook page, however, Zuckerberg took a more cautious approach, stressing that society will have to open slowly in "staggered waves" to minimise the possibility of future outbreaks. "We will require the vast majority of our employees to work from home through at least the end of May in order to create a safer environment both for our employees doing critical jobs who must be in the office and for everyone else in our local communities," he wrote.

A small section of Facebook employees are considered to have "critical" roles at the social network, including content reviewers, the department looking at harmful posts, and any engineers working on the more complex parts of the companies physical infrastructure. Zuckerberg expects these people to be able to return to work sooner, but everyone else will be away from the office for "some time".

When the time comes, however, Zuckerberg also stressed that employees that feel they can't come back to the office, either due to health or childcare, can work from home throughout the summer and potentially beyond it.

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The company has also cancelled all planned events of 50 or more people up to July 2021. Some of these will be replaced as virtual events instead, but no Facebook employees will be travelling for expos or any businesses conference until 2021.

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