Facebook may be giving us a glimpse of what the future of work will look like.
As the coronavirus pandemic has created a discussion as to what our purpose in the office is, Facebook became one of the first companies to step up and allow workers to continue working remotely through the end of 2020. Shortly after that announcement in Mary, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg extended that work-life policy by notifying staffers they could continue working remotely permanently, The New York Times reported. The move, which came after Twitter made a similar decision, is noteworthy as decisions like these tend to have a ripple effect across numerous industries.
Zuckerberg talked in-depth about Facebook’s remote working policy with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on “Squawk Box” Thursday, where he said Facebook expects as much as half of the company’s workforce to be working remotely over the next five to 10 years. Zuckerberg outlined the advantages of a looser remote-working policy, in which he said revolves around recruiting talent that is hesitant to relocate while highlighting how employee retention also played a role in the decision making.
“One of the top reasons when people leave the company that they tell us that they are leaving because they want to move to a place, maybe to be with their family, but we don’t have an office there,” Zuckerberg told CNBC. “So, we’ll now be able to keep more of those folks in the loop would be in some ways even more valuable than recruiting new people because those people already ramped up on our culture. This, overall, will, I think help spread economic opportunity more broadly across the country.”
Zuckerberg said that Facebook plans to allow more experienced employees to work remotely first, but thinks the office still serves a purpose, especially for inexperienced, younger hires.
“We concluded that if you’re a new grad at a college or haven’t had a lot of experience working in a company, it’s actually more important that you’re at the office in person for training in order to get ramped up on how a company works and how to work with colleagues in that environment before putting you in in the environment where you could potentially be more, you know, on your own working remotely,” Zuckerberg said in the interview.
But Zuckerberg also laid out the challenges of remote work, specifically how social bonds and company culture are formed, which primarily starts in an office setting.
“I think one of the big challenges with remote work that we’re all going to have to work through is the feeling of building socials bonds, building culture, and creativity together,” he said. “People are going to need to feel like they have the same opportunities to do their best work remotely, in addition to being in the office. And they’re going to need to feel like it’s not going to disadvantage their career to work remotely. And those are things that we’re going to have to be very intentional about how we engineer these processes, how meetings work, what opportunities people have, in order to make sure that ambitious people who really care about their career know that it’s still a good decision to work remotely and they’re still going to be able to get good stuff done.
“So, I think that there are a lot of open questions on exactly how to do this. But this is part of the reason why we’re taking a measured approach and rolling this out over the coming years, starting with people who are experienced, who are high performing of the company, in order to set that tone that that good, kind of key leaders and folks that a lot of people want to be like are going to be moving to be remote. I think that will set the tone and then we’ll kind of work from there in order to figure out how to open this up to, to more people.”