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Remote Working Could Become the Norm for Facebook, Zuckerberg Reveals

Ross Kelly

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remote working facebook

Working from home will deliver a range of benefits to employees, the environment and regions traditionally ignored by big tech firms. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that half of the company’s employees could eventually be remote working on a permanent basis.

The technology giant employs around 45,000 people globally, with many working remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Facebook post published yesterday (Thursday 20th May), Zuckerberg said he anticipates 50% of staff to be working remotely within the next 5-10 years. Facebook could also position itself as a leader in promoting remote working, the chief executive hinted.

“I think we could have 50% of our people working remotely, but we’re going to get there in a measured way,” he said.

“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 added.

As the company continues to place more staff in a permanent home-working setup, Zuckerberg conceded that there are “still a lot of open questions about how this will work” and that the firm will be learning and improving as it goes.

However, “there are some very clear benefits to remote work”, he added. The flexibility of remote working will likely help the firm in the long-term by opening up new sources of talent and improving workforce diversity.

Remote working will also deliver environmental benefits, he suggested, due to the reduced number of employees commuting each day.

“It lets us access talent pools outside of traditional tech hubs in big cities – and that should help spread economic opportunity much more widely around the country and world, while also helping us build a more diverse company,” Zuckerberg explained.

“Over the past few decades, economic growth in the US has been quite concentrated, with major companies often hiring in a handful of metropolitan areas. That means we’ve been missing out on a lot of talented people just because they happen to live outside a major hub,” he added.

 

Moving forward, Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook will begin a remote hiring campaign. This will begin initially by “focusing on hiring experienced engineers within four hours of a city where we have an engineering office,” he said.

Currently, the social media giant has engineering offices in locations such as San Diego, Portland and Philadelphia in the US. It is also setting up new hubs in a host of cities across the country.

Employees at Facebook appear to have reacted positively to the current remote working practices. Zuckerberg revealed the company has consulted with staff to learn about their experiences working from home. More than half of employees said they’re “at least as productive as they are in the office”, and 40% are interested in full-time remote work.

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Of those who wish to work remotely on a permanent basis, Zuckerberg added, around 75% said they will likely relocate to another place. More than one-third (38%) also said they would move to a big city, while the rest said they would live elsewhere, including rural locations.

Facebook isn’t alone in allowing staff to work from home on a more permanent basis. A host of technology companies, including social media rival Twitter, currently has staff working from home. Earlier this month, Twitter told staff they could work from home “forever” following initial success with its remote working programme.

“The past few months have proven we can make that [remote working] work. 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,” Twitter said in a statement.

“If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return,” the post added.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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