The year 2020 can be called the first year of working from home. In a passive way, enterprises and employees thoroughly feel the convenience of the Internet in promoting remote work.
Facebook launched a remote recruitment in the US on May 21 and announced that they would start to accept applications for work online permanently this year.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the Verge that they’re going to be the most forward-thinking company in the field of working remotely. They’re doing this very thoughtfully and responsibly, and he think in the next 5 to 10 years, they could let half of their employees work from home permanently.
Facebook builds the telework ecosystem
This year, a handful of Internet companies, including Twitter and Google, started to let employees work from home, and Facebook, with more than 48,000 employees, has joined the parade too.
To sum up, the appearing of telework has overturned the tradition of Silicon Valley over the past few decades. The operations of big companies have been based on close physical collaboration for a long time. Until the first quarter of this year, Facebook was paying new employees $15,000 if they agreed to live within 10 miles of the company. However, today, most of their new hires are allowed or even advised to work wherever they like.
In an interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg said that most of the company’s employees will be allowed to continue to work from home through the end of 2020, and if the epidemic had not been controlled, this measure could be extended. Facebook will choose remote hiring and allow some employees to work online permanently under the basis of their current situations.
“In the long run, we’ll allow the people to telework permanently, but it’s more suitable for experienced workers than it’s for new college graduates, and I think they still need more training in the office.” In the short term, Facebook’s shift to telecommuting is imperative. According to the original plan, Facebook reopened some of its offices in early July, but its occupancy rate, compared with its pre-epidemic levels may have dropped to 25 percent. The security requirements for entering office areas, including mandatory masks and temperature checks, may encourage more workers to stay at home.
The new decision also forces Facebook to develop a new set of tools to help telework. Recently, there are a lot of Facebook employees are invited to test their products, including the effect of augmented reality, virtual reality, and Portal intelligent monito which could help the telework to a large extent.
The era of MR has begun
Zuckerberg said that VR and AR give people access to Remote Presence and help people do what they want to do, no matter where they are. In Zuckerberg’s view, VR and AR technologies imply a new world that will inspire more people to work from home.
In a video presentation Bosworth Shared about VR telework, Bosworth also revealed that Facebook is conceiving MR—Mixed Reality, a technology that combines AR and VR.
In the future, we can create a customized screen with multiple super space in VR, which will not be limited by physical space. it will use the technology such as Passthrough to make a MR office experience. Through the convenient gesture tracking such as new input mode, people can switch between the real and virtual world at any time, and have a great experience both in the two Spaces.
The pros and cons are obvious: more possibilities, more uncertainty
For Facebook, enabling telework gives the company access to a wider talent resource. He said that Facebook has been confined to few cities, and working from home could bring more superiorities both in hiring and retention. Zuckerberg also highlighted that there were a number of people who have left said that they wanted to move to the places where Facebook didn’t have the office. Telework will help them retain these vital employees. he also highlighted the issue of diversity. Working remotely allows Facebook to reach more people from different backgrounds, regions and communities.
Another benefit of working from home is that it will help Facebook to advance its future technologies. As it mentioned above, it can accelerate the integrated development of VR and AR technologies.
Telework is also provide a more equal opportunity for everyone. People don’t have to leave their homes to have opportunities for personal development.
At the same time, many statistics has shown that carbon emissions have gone down significantly since the outbreak of covid-19. One of the most important reasons is that we don’t have to commute for two or three hours, or fly in the sky when we have to work at home.
Zuckerberg also noted that one of the biggest unknown in promoting telework is creativity. He remains optimistic about his leadership, and said that his experience told him that it’s not hard to change things. They’ve changed the direction of a lot of things, accelerated a lot of development of their products, and they’ve seen a lot of product’s launches. But Zuckerberg also worried that with time pass by, Facebook would face many challenges.
For example, Facebook once attracted their new employees by excellent office environment, such as working in the building that designed by Frank. But what does a beautiful work environment offer employees when they’re working from home?
At the same time, how can the large number of employees from remote areas affect Facebook’s diversity and inclusiveness? And how can young employees find the value of mentoring if they rarely have the opportunity to communicate with mentors face-to-face?
Casey Newton, the Verge’s reporter, asked Zuckerberg if the study of the Coronavirus vaccine succeed, what would he choose, and does he like it? Zuckerberg said that, unlike other Facebook employees, he has to contact with business partners, government officials and so on, making it difficult to telework entirely even if he wanted to.
“But I want to be in step with my staff, and I do plan to spend more time in working from home to experience some of our technologies we’re developing, and I’m figuring out what role I can play in the future.”