Mark Zuckerberg is out of office

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company formerly called Facebook is taking remote working “to the extreme” among its senior executives, with several executives planning moves around the world and others, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg. , planning to work for significant periods. time away from the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.

The company said in June that it would give most of its employees the option of seeking permission to work outside the office. Meta says its goal is to be “the most forward-thinking company for remote work” at its scale and believes it could have tens of thousands of people working remotely in the future.

Online real estate giant Zillow Group was exceptionally early to adopt a permanent work-from-home option, announcing in July 2020 – just months after the start of the pandemic – that 90% of its employees would have the option to continue. to work from home at least indefinitely. As part of its new “distributed workforce model,” Zillow says it now has employees spread across 49 states.

Zillow is a much smaller company than Meta, with a national workforce rather than a global workforce, but its early lessons in working remotely could be useful for Meta investors. In an interview, Human Resources Director Dan Spaulding said Zillow’s decision to move to a more flexible workforce model was tied to attracting and retaining top talent. Even before the pandemic, he said, asking candidates to uproot their families and move to Seattle, where Zillow is headquartered, “became a really tough proposition,” adding that he “can’t imagine” trying to persuade people to change jobs and move up in today’s job market.

Zillow says it had an increase of more than 58% in the number of applicants in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2019, with the diversity of applicants also increasing. In 2021 surveys, the company says nearly half of its new hires said they chose Zillow because of its “freedom and flexibility.”

Meta could use some of that boost, especially at the top. Senior executives including head of communications, head of global advertising, head of its Facebook app, co-creator of its digital currency, vice president of virtual reality, vice president of reality content augmented and virtual and its creative lead, among others, have all left the company within the past 15 months. Shares of Meta – a key component of executive compensation – are looking far less attractive these days, down nearly a third year-to-date, wiping out some $300 billion in market value.

But Mr Spaulding called the faster pace enabled by remote working both a plus and a minus. He said this allowed Zillow to move quickly in winding down its iBuying business. Its rapid deployment last year resulted in hundreds of millions of inventory write-downs in a single quarter. Mr Spaulding said he did not know, however, whether the iBuying explosion could have been avoided with a more centralized workforce.

Meta says it’s still too early to share data on how many of its employees have opted to pursue remote work as an option, but said 2022 will be “a learning year”. A company long known for its mantra, ‘move fast and break things,’ it is now under fire for making rapid progress as it strives to expand its social media roots into the so-called ” metaverse”, a highly competitive space that counts Microsoft and Nvidia as competitors.

In an interview for Tim Ferriss’ podcast published last week, Zuckerberg called “the rise of distributed work” perhaps the most important societal trend he’s seeing right now. He also discussed his company’s core values ​​over the years, such as using the very things you build for quick feedback. Going fast, he says, is the key to learning; but that implies tolerating a “certain amount of bugs”.

Sometimes these insects bite. To gauge the promise of remote working, Ben Waber, president and co-founder of workplace analytics firm Humanyze, looked at the pandemic performance of publicly traded video game companies around the world — an industry that, according to him, would be an “ideal test case” for success in a fully distributed workforce given its pandemic popularity and production of almost exclusively digital goods, like those of Meta. Ultimately, he and Zanele Munyikwa, a Ph.D. student at MIT Sloan School of Management, found that public video game companies that transitioned to remote working during the pandemic reported 4.4 times more. delays than before the pandemic, while those who did not switch to remote work reported about half the delays compared to before the pandemic.

“Now nobody can claim to know what they’re doing,” he said of post-pandemic workplace arrangements at this point. “For Meta, if they’re being honest, it’s a guess.”

This is a high-stakes hypothesis for a company which today asks investors to invest in its construction of a virtual environment where it expects the world not only to play and communicate but also to work. In that sense, Meta’s bet on remote work is a critical proof of concept.

Write to Laura Forman at [email protected]

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button