Meta gets tough on employees who refuse to return to office three days a week

Repeated breaches could result in disciplinary action, including termination

clock • 2 min read
Meta tightens stance on employees who refuse to return to office three days per week
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Meta tightens stance on employees who refuse to return to office three days per week

Meta, led by Mark Zuckerberg, is tightening its stance on employees who fail to meet the requirement of spending a minimum of three days working from the office each week, with potential consequences including the job termination.

The latest warning comes from Lori Goler, Meta's head of people, who conveyed through an internal platform named Workplace that commencing from 5th September, employees assigned to office locations are required to be physically present for a minimum of three days every week.

According to a report by Business Insider, managers will oversee employees' attendance by using badge data and the Status Tool, and will subsequently engage with employees who do not adhere to the attendance requirements.

Goler emphasised that any actions taken would be in accordance with local regulations and company guidelines.

In more severe instances, repeated breaches could result in disciplinary action, such as reducing the employee's performance rating, and in persistent cases, even termination.

"Accountability will be central to making this fair and effective," she stated.

This new policy is part of Meta's "year of efficiency," a strategy directed by Zuckerberg to minimise expenses and optimise the company's functions.

In March, Zuckerberg remarked that engineers who had joined before the pandemic and worked in the traditional office environment showed better performance compared to remote workers who joined during the pandemic.

Zuckerberg said that this "hypothesis" required additional investigation and encouraged everyone to return to the workplace collaboratively.

In June, Meta made it obligatory for all employees to be present for three days each week.

"We believe that distributed work will continue to be important in the future, particularly as our technology improves," a spokesperson from Meta said.

"In the near term, our in-person focus is designed to support a strong, valuable experience for our people who have chosen to work from the office, and we're being thoughtful and intentional about where we invest in remote work."

Remote employees remained unaffected by this decision.

Although Meta continues to permit certain remote work, its latest decision marks a notable departure from the pro-remote-work position it initially embraced during the early stages of the pandemic.

During an interview about Meta's long-term strategy on The Tim Ferriss Show in the US in March 2022, Zuckerberg mentioned that he aspired to have "50% or more of the company" engaged in "distributed and remote work" by the end of the decade.

Employee backlash

Amazon recently faced employee backlash after sending an email cautioning them about failing to fulfil the mandate of working in the office for a minimum of three days per week.

The warning triggered renewed tensions within the company, with certain employees asserting that they received the communication mistakenly. Some employees also raised privacy concerns.

An Amazon staff member questioned on an internal Slack channel whether the intention was to "scare people?" Another employee characterised the email as "peak absurdity".

Earlier this month, the video conferencing company Zoom informed its employees that those living within a 50-mile radius of any of its offices must be physically present for a minimum of two days per week.

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