Zuckerberg: Half of Facebook staff could be home working by end of decade

Half of Facebook’s workforce could shift to permanent home working by the end of the decade, founder Mark Zuckerberg has revealed.

The social network’s chief set out his vision to employees on Thursday, prompted by the current coronavirus crisis which has forced companies across the globe to embrace remote working in recent months.

Mr Zuckerberg said it is “quite possible” that over the next five to 10 years about 50% of staff at the company could be working from home, though he warned that those interested could see salaries cut if they decide to be located away from big cities where living expenses tend to be higher.

The tech giant also plans to “aggressively open up” remote hiring, though the process will be staggered, starting with experienced engineers living in the US and Canada.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

“This is fundamentally about changing our culture, in the way that we all are going to work long-term, so I think I’m optimistic about this direction, but I want to make sure that we move forward in a measured way,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“At the same time, I also want to emphasise that I just think Covid is going to be with us for a while to come.”

The 36-year-old hopes that the move will help retain workers that want to live in areas further away from offices, while attracting new talent from further afield.

More than 95% of Facebook’s staff are currently working from home due to Covid-19 and will be able to keep their current salary until January 1 in the US, after which employees will need to declare their location so that it can be adjusted.

It is not clear what it would mean for workers in the UK and other parts of the world.

“This is important for taxes and accounting, we’re mostly going to rely on the honour code for this and you guys telling us where you’re living,” Mr Zuckerberg continued.

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“But we are going to put in place some basic precautions to make sure we’re managing this responsibly, by checking the location that people are VPNing in or things like that and I just have to say there will unfortunately have to be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this.”

The announcement comes as Facebook’s paid business-focused platform Workplace recorded a surge in subscriptions, gaining two million paid users in little over six months.

Workplace from Facebook, the tech giant’s communication offering for companies and employees, has more than five million paid users, up from three million in October last year.

The firm is introducing a number of new features, as businesses turn to home working during the coronavirus lockdown and look to continue remote working in the future.

Workplace from Facebook – which is largely run from London – launched in October 2016 and started charging customers a year later.