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Facebook remote working policies to continue after lockdown with salary catch

Facebook will continue to allow employees to work from home even after coronavirus lockdowns have ended, with potentially half its workforce making it a permanent arrangement by the end of the decade, founder Mark Zuckerberg has said.

In a video message to employees, he said the social network would “aggressively” open up remote hiring and the company would take a more “measured approach” with existing employees based on job function and past performance.

He added that it is “quite possible” that over the next five to 10 years about 50 per cent of staff at the company could be working from home, while noting that this could entail a salary cut if employees choose to live away from areas with high living expenses like big cities.

His comments are one of the boldest statements from a major tech company about what the future of working could look like in a post-coronavirus world.

“This is fundamentally about changing our culture, in the way that we all are going to work long-term, so I think I’m optimistic about this direction, but I want to make sure that we move forward in a measured way,” he said.

“At the same time, I also want to emphasise that I just think Covid is going to be with us for a while to come.”

More than 95 per cent of Facebook’s staff are currently working from home due to Covid-19 and will be able to keep their current salary until 1 January in the US, after which employees will need to declare their location so that it can be adjusted.

It is not clear what it would mean for workers in the UK and other parts of the world.

“This is important for taxes and accounting, we’re mostly going to rely on the honour code for this and you guys telling us where you’re living,” Zuckerberg continued.

“But we are going to put in place some basic precautions to make sure we’re managing this responsibly, by checking the location that people are VPNing in or things like that and I just have to say there will unfortunately have to be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this.”

While not going as far as Facebook, Google has said that working from home has given some of its smart home employees ideas for new features for its range of smart speakers.

Google’s product lead for smart speakers told the PA news agency that that lockdowns have actually been advantageous in some ways and may have a direct impact on features to come.

“I think it’s enhanced the insight that we have on these devices because now we’re spending 100 per cent of our time with them, so I would actually say some of the key insights and some of the new features you’re going to start seeing is because we have been living with our products every single day, finding new use cases for them and actually questioning some things,” Mark Spates said to PA.

“I would say the time at home has actually made us all better creators of these products because we get to live with them a lot longer.”

Over the bank holiday weekend, the firm will present a range of mood-lifting activities via its Nest smart speakers.

E&T recently looked at how the coronavirus pandemic is spurring a global movement for workplaces to adopt remote working policies that could remain in place for years to come.

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