COVID-19 Update

Thumbs Down on Facebook’s Plan to Adjust Employee Salaries Based on WFH Plans

Mark Zuckerberg will give Facebook employees the choice: work in the office when pandemic ends or expect salary adjustment based on geography.

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Thumbs Down on Facebook’s Plan to Adjust Employee Salaries Based on WFH Plans

How many Facebook employees will it take to flip this sign at its corporate HQ over?

More states are lowering their restrictions on working in offices as the coronavirus pandemic moves across the country and continues to dissipate. That means office managers are working on their plans to welcome back the workforce to a much different office environment than they left a few months ago.

Leave it to Facebook’s cyborg-like leader, Mark Zuckerberg, to make the return to work in an era of uncertainty more uncomfortable than necessary by telling employees who had been in the office before the pandemic they must come back or see their salaries adjusted based on where they live.

That’s right: Facebook, one of the world’s largest social media platforms, is going to nickel and dime the people who help to continue making the site stacks of cash every day by making them choose whether they want to keep working from home and run the risk of making less money to do so.

This seems like a really short-sighted approach to business, especially from a company in the tech space, where the focus on how working from home has been a lot more productive than most people expected during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Here’s more from the Bloomberg article on Zuckerberg’s plan:

Facebook is the latest, and largest, tech company to announce a full or partial move to more permanent remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., both run by CEO Jack Dorsey, have announced that their employees can work from home permanently if they’d like. Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc. said this week it will allow its 5,000 staff to work from home indefinitely.

Facebook employees who wish to work remotely, and are approved to do so, will be paid based on their new location, Zuckerberg added. That means employees who move to areas with a lower cost of living than the Bay Area would likely take a pay cut.

Employees currently working remotely who want to extend their remote work plans beyond the end of this year will need to alert Facebook for tax and payroll reasons.

“We’ll localize everybody’s comp on January 1,” he said. “They can do whatever they want through the rest of the year, but by the end of the year they should either come back to the Bay Area or they need to tell us where they are.”

What Is Facebook Thinking with WFH Plan?

I’ll be working from home until at least July and possibly longer than that, according to the plan laid out by Emerald officials. I can’t imagine the reaction of the workforce when we do finally get the all-clear to return to the office that our salaries will be adjusted based on our geography.

I’ve never wanted to live in a city—not just because of the cost—but I’d certainly be tempted to move to Boston or Providence if Emerald were to enact a policy like what Facebook is planning since I’m certain the cost of living in those areas is much more than in my longtime residence.

Certainly, Zuckerberg is welcome to do whatever he wants with his company and plenty of his loyal soldiers will do whatever he says whenever he says it, but I can’t imagine working for a company like that.

I spent most of my career hearing rumors about cost of living adjustments in the newspaper business, but I never realized there were actually leaders who used that formally to give their employees less money for doing the same work when they can clearly afford it.

How can that be good for overall employee morale—and does Zuckerberg even care? I’m guessing now won’t be the time for Facebook to roll out the dislike button.

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