Facebook will permanently adopt remote working even after the coronavirus blockages are released, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees Thursday, accelerating the geographic diversification of the tech sector away from his home in Silicon Valley.
Zuckerberg said the world’s largest social network would begin to “aggressively open up remote recruitment”, expecting around half of its workforce to work remotely over the next five to ten years.
The company would take a more “measured” approach with existing employees based on job function and past performance, he said, and set a deadline of January 1, 2021 for staff to update the business on their new locations.
Facebook, which has already announced plans to hire 10,000 engineers and product workers this year, will also build three new “hubs” in Atlanta, Dallas and Denver where remote workers from these regions may meet occasionally.
“These are not necessarily offices,” said Zuckerberg, although the company would likely create “some kind of physical space” to accompany them. “The idea of these hubs is that we want to scale up. We want to focus recruiting energy in certain cities where we can find hundreds of engineers. “
He predicted cost savings from real estate, food and labor costs, as the exorbitant compensation packages common in Silicon Valley will be adjusted if Facebook employees choose to live in regions less expensive.
The move follows similar announcements made earlier this month by social media rival Twitter and payment company Square, which were the first large tech companies to allow remote working indefinitely.
Facebook is, however, a much larger company, and its move is likely to have a more pronounced impact on the industry’s work culture.
The cost effect is not clear, said Zuckerberg, as the savings will be partially offset by the additional costs of travel and technology associated with setting up home offices.