Thursday September 21, 2023

Meta staff given return-to-office order as work-from-home comes to end

Facebook's parent company had permitted all full-time employees to work remotely during COVID-19 outbreak

By Web Desk
September 06, 2023
A sign is posted in front of Meta headquarters on April 28, 2022 in Menlo Park, California. — AFP/File
 A sign is posted in front of Meta headquarters on April 28, 2022 in Menlo Park, California. — AFP/File

Employees of the social media giant Meta returned to work on Tuesday as the company reversed its remote work restrictions, put in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, by putting into effect a mandate requiring employees to come into the office for a minimum of three days a week.

Mark Zuckerberg's Meta had previously informed its employees in June that starting in September, they would need to be in the office three days a week, New York Post reported.

“We believe that distributed work will continue to be important in the future, particularly as our technology improves,” a Meta spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“In the near term, our in-person focus is designed to support a strong, valuable experience for our people who have chosen to work from the office, and we’re being thoughtful and intentional about where we invest in remote work.”

Before Meta's new policy went into effect, the company issued a warning to staff members who disobeyed the order that they ran the possibility of being fired.

“Accountability will be central to making this [policy] fair and effective,” Meta’s Head of People Lori Goler wrote in a memo to employees, adding that managers will have to review employee attendance records on a monthly basis.

“As with other company policies, repeated violations may result in disciplinary action, up to and including a Performance rating drop and, ultimately, termination if not addressed,” she wrote.

The change in policy comes after Facebook's parent company permitted all full-time employees to work remotely when the COVID-19 outbreak was in full swing, New York Post reported.

In support of the policy at the time, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "Good work can get done anywhere, and I’m even more optimistic that remote work at scale is possible, particularly as remote video presence and virtual reality continue to improve.”

In a blog post from March of this year, Zuckerberg took a different tack, noting that “engineers earlier in their career perform better on average when they work in-person with teammates at least three days a week.”

Companies in the tech, financial, and other sectors started the process of summoning their staff back to work as soon as the pandemic was over.

Companies that once supported remote work, like Apple, Amazon, and Google, have also changed their positions and now need employees to come into the office again, typically three days per week.

Moreover, companies like Goldman Sachs on Wall Street want workers back in the office five days a week.