D.he large American technology companies are preparing their workforces to return to offices, but have very different ideas about how much freedom they want to grant their employees. Facebook has now announced in an internal message that it will give most employees the choice of whether they will work in the office or stay in the home office in the future.
In contrast, Apple recently let its employees know that from September they are expected to be in the office on three specific days a week, namely Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. That caused some unrest in the workforce. A group of employees wrote a letter to the management around the chairman of the board, Tim Cook, demanding that they continue to have the option of working from home as before.
“More space for long-term reflection”
Facebook plans to reopen most of its American offices in September initially with a capacity of 50 percent and fully in October. If you want to continue working from home, you have to get approval from your superiors. Anyone who wants to come to the office is expected to be present at least 50 percent of the time.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said about a year ago that the company wanted to allow many of its employees to work from home even after the Corona crisis. At the time, he estimated that within ten years this could apply to half of the staff.
Zuckerberg has now said he wants to work up to 50 percent of his time outside the office in the coming year. In a message to the workforce quoted by the Wall Street Journal, he wrote, “I’ve found that working remotely has given me more space for long-term reflection and has helped me spend more time with my family. That made me happier and more productive at work. “
Unlike Apple, Facebook does not want employees who want to come to the office to set fixed days company-wide, but rather let individual teams decide. In some areas of activity, for example for employees in data centers, the home office option will not be available.
At Apple, being in the office traditionally counts a lot
The fact that Apple employees can stay in the home office for two days is a concession compared to the times before the pandemic, because the company has traditionally placed great emphasis on being in the office. Nevertheless, some employees apparently find the new rules too strict. In the letter to management reported by the online publication The Verge, employees wrote that they felt “ignored”.
They felt they had done “the best work of our lives” outside the office last year and were “living proof” that there did not have to be a strict uniform policy. It is “condescending” if it is now communicated how great the need in the workforce is supposed to be to return to the office, although this does not apply to many of them.
The rules of other companies also vary in their flexibility. Twitter said some time ago that, with a few exceptions, all employees should have the choice of staying in the home office permanently. Google expects that a fifth of the workforce will be permanently in the home office, otherwise there should be a hybrid model in which employees come to the office three days a week. Uber says there is a “clear expectation” that in future all employees will come to the office three days a week.