Coronavirus: Facebook will allow half its staff to work from home permanently, but it will come at a cost

Facebook says it is going to permanently embrace remote working once the coronavirus pandemic ends – but this could come at a cost for employees.

The world’s biggest social network is going to start “aggressively opening up remote hiring” – with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealing that he expects about 50% of its workforce will end up doing their jobs outside of Facebook’s offices within 10 years.

However, the generous compensation packages that accompany a job in Silicon Valley could end up becoming a thing of the past.

May 1, 2018 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California

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Mark Zuckerberg says about 60% of Facebook employees prefer a flexible approach to work

Mr Zuckerberg said employees who choose to live in less expensive areas of the country could end up seeing their pay adjusted.

“We pay very well, basically at the top of the market, but we pay a market rate. And that varies by location, so we’re going to continue that principle here,” the CEO added.

Facebook has almost 50,000 employees, and the announcement could have a significant impact on the Californian city of San Francisco, where rapid growth in the tech sector has put the housing market and transport infrastructure under strain.

The company is planning to build three new “hubs” in the cities of Atlanta, Dallas and Denver so workers who live nearby can occasionally gather.

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It is unclear what the mass move to homeworking would mean for Facebook’s finances.

Although some savings would be made on property and food – and potentially salaries – ensuring staff have the equipment they need for home working could prove expensive.

The company’s plush headquarters in Menlo Park, complete with a rooftop garden, would be kept under the radical proposals.

According to Mr Zuckerberg, about 60% of Facebook employees prefer a flexible approach to work that offers a blend of time in the office and at home.

Of this group, roughly 50% would move to another region given the chance.

Other, smaller tech companies – including rival social media platform Twitter – have also said they plan to allow employees to continue working remotely indefinitely.

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