The future of the workforce post-COVID-19 is at the top of mind for leaders and employees alike. With people being forced into a remote workforce during the pandemic, many are curious about what the new normal will look like once the nation reopens. For leaders, key components like efficacy, property costs, work culture, the bottom line, organizational structure, and other important business matters all factor into the ultimate decision to go remote. While some leaders have decided to give their employees the option to work remotely for as long as they’d like, Mark Zuckerberg shared his plans for Facebook and the benefits and challenges a completely remote workforce could have on employees.
In a Facebook post, the CEO shared that half of the company’s 48,000-plus employees could be remote in the foreseeable future.
“Over the next 5-10 years, I think we could have 50% of our people working remotely, but we’re going to get there in a measured way. I think Facebook will be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale, and we’ve been working on a thoughtful and responsible plan to do this. There are still a lot of open questions about how this will work, so we’ll need to keep learning and improving as we go,” he wrote.
Employee Experiences Matter
As a part of that learning, Facebook recently surveyed its community of employees about their remote work experiences to inform their decisions in the future.
“More than half of them say they’re at least as productive as they are in the office. About 40% are interested in full-time remote work, but more than 50% want to get back into the offices as soon as possible. Of the people who want to work remotely, around 75% said they might move to another place — and of those, 38% said they’d move to a big city while the rest said they’d live elsewhere,” Zuckerberg shared.
“It’s not all positive. Having kids home from school has been tough for parents, and people living on their own have struggled too. It can be hard to find the right work life balance without a clear boundary between work and home. I’m also concerned about weaker social bonds between colleagues, especially new hires, and there’s an open question about whether groups of people are less creative when they’re not together. I think most of us would really like to just see one another in person again as soon as possible.”
Zuckerberg also shared that there are a number of questions that will present themselves that will have to be answered over time and through experience. Additionally, he acknowledged the opportunity to create a more diverse workforce through remote recruiting.
“It lets us access talent pools outside of traditional tech hubs in big cities — and that should help spread economic opportunity much more widely around the country and world while also helping us build a more diverse company. It should be better for the environment because of reduced commuting. Since many people feel more productive outside the office, it should help us better serve our community. For us specifically, it should help us advance some of the future technology we’re developing,” he added.
For those who are eager to get back to work, Facebook has begun to make accommodations to work safely and collaborate. Additionally, Facebook will begin to allow people to work remotely who live within four hours of existing offices.
There is still a fair amount for leaders to figure out as they move their businesses forward. And, Zuckerberg stands firmly on making the best long term decision.
“Approaching this thoughtfully and methodically will help us strengthen parts of our culture that are really important. We’ve invested a lot of our time in developing programs that help every individual grow their career and help teams execute together effectively and we’re going to need to bring that same care and commitment to our remote work programs too. Products can get built in months, but culture is built over years, so we’re taking a long term approach.”
Many leaders are looking to successful business leaders for guidance as they seek to implement strategies that will work for them.
Click here to read Zuckerberg’s post in its entirety.