Facebook says as many as 50 percent of the company’s workforce could end up permanently working from home during the coming decade.
On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckeberg made the prediction as Facebook is going to let more staffers work remotely on a permanent basis. “I think we’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale, for sure,” he said during a live stream.
The news is another sign work-from-home policies may be here to stay for the internet industry, which continues to operate despite COVID-19. Both Twitter and now Shopify have also decided to let some employees work remotely on a permanent-basis.
In Facebook’s case, most of the company’s 50,000 employees have already been working remotely since March. Initially, the company feared the pandemic would disrupt operations at the social network. But according to Zuckerberg, productivity remains up for more than half of the company’s workers. At the same time, employees have been able to avoid long commutes to the office, freeing them up to spend more time on their personal lives or office projects.
Zuckerberg went on to say as many as 40 percent of Facebook’s current employees are “extremely interested” or “somewhat interested” in working from home on a permanent basis, citing an internal survey. He also pointed out the shift to remote work would enable Facebook to better hold on to staff members who wish to move out of Silicon Valley.
The company also sees benefits in hiring. “Certainly being able to recruit more broadly across the US and Canada to start is going to open up a lot of new talent that previously wouldn’t consider moving to a big city,” he added.
The push to let existing employees work remotely on a permanent-basis will roll out in phases in the coming years. It’ll also involve addressing certain challenges, like ensuring remote workers don’t lose out on career advancement. “Over the next 5 to 10 years, I think we could have 50 percent of our people working remotely, but we’re going to get there in a measured way,” he added in a separate post.
Per an internal survey, Facebook’s CEO also acknowledged that another 50 percent of Facebook’s workforce wants to get back to the offices as soon as possible. But in the short-term, Zuckerberg said he doesn’t expect this to be possible. In July, the company is reopening offices, but only to a 25 percent capacity.
“Our priority is people who can’t productively do their work from home — those who work on hardware, some of our content reviewers, data center technicians, and other specialized roles,” he said. Meanwhile, remaining employees will still have the option to continue to work remotely until the end of the year.