Facebook will let most employees work from home through 2020


Facebook is based in Menlo Park, California.

James Martin/CNET

Facebook said Thursday that it’ll allow most of its employees to work from home through the end of this year and doesn’t plan to reopen most of its offices until July 6 at the earliest.

The company will consider various factors such as “public health data, government guidance and local nuances” when deciding whether to reopen its offices, said a spokeswoman.

As has been the case with most companies, Facebook employees have been working from home to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Facebook’s new announcement gives a glimpse into how one of the world’s largest tech companies plans to reopen in the coming months.

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network’s employees would likely be among the last back to the office when society reopened, noting that the return to work would have to done in a “staggered way.” At the time, he said most of the employees would work from home through the end of May. Employees who couldn’t work remotely, such as content reviewers who work on counter-terrorism or suicide and self-harm prevention and certain engineers, might be able to return sooner to the office, he said then.

Facebook hasn’t determined which employees will be able to come back into its offices once they reopen, CNBC reported earlier. A Facebook spokeswoman said employees who can do their work remotely will be able to do so through the end of 2020.

As of March 31, Facebook had 48,268 workers throughout the world. 

On Thursday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in an op-ed in Fortune that the coronavirus pandemic has created a “double double shift” for female employees who have to care for children and sick or elderly relatives. She urged employers to help relieve some of this stress by offering more flexibility in the workplace. Facebook suspended performance ratings and created extended childcare benefits and leave options for caregivers, she said. 

Managers should also offer their workers emotional support, Sandberg said. She urged men to pitch in with housework and called for paid leave, a higher minimum wage and affordable childcare.

“Getting through this crisis means helping women get through it too,” Sandberg said. “All of us — employers, managers, elected officials and spouses — need to help lighten their loads.”

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