Dive Brief:

  • As of June 15, any Facebook employee whose role can be done remotely may request the ability to work remotely, according to an update posted to the company’s careers page.
  • Facebook said it is “on track” to open most of its U.S. offices to 50% capacity by early September. The company noted that “several” international offices in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and in the Asia-Pacific region have already opened. Facebook’s current guidance is for employees to spend at least half of their time in the office, per the statement.
  • In addition to an allotment of 20 business days that employees may use to work from another location where they have work authorization, Facebook said it will expand remote work across international borders to support work opportunities for those who move from the U.S. to Canada. In the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Facebook will provide similar support to employees who wish to move to the U.K.

Dive Insight:

During the early months of the pandemic, Facebook sent home the vast majority of its employees; CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a May 2020 town hall event that more than 95% of the company’s workforce had gone remote. He also estimated that as many as 50% of that workforce may consist of remote workers in the next five to 10 years.

The social media company has seen tech industry counterparts adopt similar plans this year, but there have been some differences. Google, for example, has said it will reopen physical offices in September and pilot a hybrid work model for certain roles in which workers would work in the company’s offices at least three days per week. CEO Sundar Pichai also communicated to employees an expectation that employees live within commuting distance of their assigned offices.

On the more flexible end of the spectrum sit companies like Spotify, which said in February it would give workers the option of working full-time either from home, the company’s offices or a combination of the two. Spotify employees also may be eligible for a co-working space membership in some cases, the company said.

Expansion of hybrid work could appeal to a wide swath of talent in the U.S. A March survey conducted by Morning Consult found more than two-thirds of U.S. workers would prefer a hybrid workplace model post-pandemic, and 87% said they wanted to work remotely at least one day per week post-pandemic.

However, employers may feel uncomfortable about adopting such arrangements. A survey published in May by law firm Littler Mendelson found that even though 55% of employers planned to offer a hybrid arrangement, 65% were either “moderately” or “somewhat” concerned about the management issues that may present. An additional 8% were “very” concerned.

One potential issue, particularly for those who adopt more fully remote work arrangements, may be how they pay employees who move to new locations. Last year, Zuckerberg addressed this issue in a video message to employees in which he said workers who move to locations with a lower cost of living may see their pay change.

Employers who adopt flexible arrangements may need to re-evaluate those plans from time to time in order to ensure managers and teams can adjust, but that may require increased transparency and communication from personnel teams, one expert recently told HR Dive.

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