Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that he predicts that 50% of the company’s employees could work remotely in the next five to ten years.
“We are going to be the most forward-looking telecommuting company on our scale,” said Zuckerberg.
The company will start allowing some employees to work full-time remotely, he said. These employees will need to notify the company if they move to another location by January 1, 2021. As a result, these employees may see their compensation adjusted based on their new locations, said Zuckerberg.
“We will adjust the salary at your location at that time,” said Zuckerberg, citing that it is necessary for taxes and accounting. “There will be serious ramifications for people who are not being honest about it.”
Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will “aggressively” speed up its recruitment of remote workers and that the company will take a “measured approach” to open permanent remote jobs for existing employees.
Zuckerberg made his prediction on his weekly livestream with employees, telling them that this move should help the company improve employee retention, and that it will allow Facebook to hire from talent pools that previously n weren’t planning to move to the big cities to work for the company. In addition, this decision will allow Facebook to improve the diversity of its workforce and to distribute economic opportunities in more places.
“When you limit hiring to people who live in or are willing to move to a few large cities, it eliminates a lot of people who live in different communities, have different backgrounds or may have different perspectives,” said Zuckerberg.
Currently 95% of Facebook employees work remotely, said Zuckerberg. A Facebook survey found that 50% of employees said they were as productive at home as at the office, said Zuckerberg. Among Facebook employees, 40% said they were extremely, very or somewhat interested in full-time remote work, and of this subset of employees, 75% said they were fairly confident or that they could move to another city if they could work remotely, said Zuckerberg.
“It’s sort of an unfortunate and unsustainable configuration for people to have a lot of these jobs, they have to move to a few big cities,” said Zuckerberg.
For starters, Facebook will allow existing employees to request permanent remote work if they meet specific criteria. This includes experienced employees, those with good recent performance, employees in teams that support remote work, and employees who get approval from their group leaders, said Zuckerberg. This will not include employees who recently graduated, he said.
Facebook is the latest company to announce its decision to continue supporting remote working. This follows similar decisions from companies like Twitter, Square and Shopify.
Zuckerberg’s announcement comes when Facebook unveiled new features for Workplace, the company’s enterprise communications software. Stimulated by the coronavirus pandemic, Workplace rose from 3 million paying users in October to 5 million, the company announced on Thursday.
Following Zuckerberg’s announcements, Facebook’s share price rose for the second day in a row, up almost 1%, although the rest of the market was mostly down.