Although mainly reserved for freelancers in the pre-pandemic world, working from home became the norm for many professions during 2020 and now well into 2021. Apart from a few points of complaint, it seems that employees have grown to enjoy working remotely, and companies have come to realize its benefits as well—Facebook being one of them.
Facebook, whom we’re written about, has decided to offer its employees the option to work from home permanently if they get approval from their managers. Mark Zuckerberg has even predicted that within the next 5–10 years, 50% of Facebook’s employees will be remote workers.
Thriving Remotely or Saving Costs?
According to Facebook’s vice president of People Growth—Brynn Harrington—some employees are thriving in their work-at-home environment, saying, “For example, parents who are closer to their children and are happy to cut their commute time and optimize their workday, they’re thrilled to work from home.”
However, there is another side to the coin—some employees are struggling with remote work and longing for their offices. Employees are especially struggling with motivation and productivity, some even having to resort to tools that help them manage their workflow effectively.
Beginning in May, Facebook is planning to slowly reopen its offices, with 50% capacity expected to be achieved by September. Those who are eager to go back to office work will get the chance, and those who prefer working remotely will have the option to continue doing so—a win-win situation for both.
This is also a win for Facebook. Keeping some employees remote will save costs both for the company and the employees. According to some statistics from pre-pandemic times, employees saved between $2,500 and $4,000 per year by working remotely half-time, while employers saved $11,000 for every remote half-time employee. However, Facebook employees’ pay for remote work seems to depend on where they live (and work)—a practice that doesn’t sit well with many.
Although remote work saves costs in general, the transition in the past year did present a financial blow for companies that had to provide their employees with adequate resources (e.g., buying more cloud space) to continue with the same standard of work.
Are Twitter and Google Following Suit?
As vaccinations are ramping up, companies have started working on their plans of (not) returning employees to their offices.
Some companies, such as Goldman Sachs and Barclays, have rejected the idea of remote work remaining an option even after the pandemic. Others are open to the possibility of a hybrid model that would give employees the possibility to split their time between office and remote work.
Google has chosen to set up a hybrid model by allowing its workers to choose to work from home most days of the week. Twitter has also declared its stance to allow its employees the choice to work remotely permanently, and Spotify has expressed similar sentiments.
Although remote work had been gaining traction in the past few years, the pandemic has fast-tracked its implementation in work environments, possibly paving the way for the extinction of standard office work.