Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will tread cautiously on return to office

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Even as there are statements and indications in the US that the country is set to be opened soon in a staggered manner, Facebook will tread cautiously on return to office. Mark Zuckerberg has written in a FB post that the company will require the vast majority of its employees to work from home through at least the end of May to create a safer environment both for its employees doing critical jobs who must be in the office, and for everyone else in the local communities.

Citing guidance from health experts that it won’t be advisable to have large groups of people get together for a while, he announced that Facebook is cancelling any large physical events it had planned with 50 or more people through June 2021, and will instead hold virtual events. It is also extending its policy of no business travel.

Here’s the complete post from Mark Zuckherberg:

As we start to think about what it will look like to re-open society, I wanted to provide an update on how we’re planning for our teams at Facebook. The summary is: we’re slowing our plans to return to the office in order to prioritize helping the rest of our community and local economy to get back up and running first.

We know that most people can’t work from home as easily as many of our employees can. We also know that when society does eventually start re-opening, it will have to open slowly in staggered waves to make sure that the people who are returning to work can do so safely and that we minimize the possibility of future outbreaks.

We will require the vast majority of our employees to work from home through at least the end of May in order to create a safer environment both for our employees doing critical jobs who must be in the office and for everyone else in our local communities. A small percent of our critical employees who can’t work remotely, like content reviewers working on counter-terrorism or suicide and self-harm prevention, and engineers working on complex hardware, may be able to return sooner, but overall, we don’t expect to have everyone back in our offices for some time.

We’ve also let our employees know that even after more of our teams can return, if there’s any reason they feel they can’t work in our offices — because they are in a vulnerable population, because with schools and camps canceled they don’t have childcare, or anything else — that they can plan to work from home through at least the summer.

Even beyond this next period, guidance from health experts is that it won’t be advisable to have large groups of people get together for a while. Given this, we’re canceling any large physical events we had planned with 50 or more people through June 2021. Some of these we will hold as virtual events instead and we’ll share  more details on that soon. Similarly, we’re extending our policy of no business travel through at least June of this year as well.

Most Facebook employees are fortunate to be able to work productively from home, so we feel a responsibility to allow people who don’t have this flexibility to access shared public resources first. I hope this helps contain the spread of Covid-19 so we can keep our communities safe and get back up and running again soon.

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