Facebook’s Meta to reopen offices by Jan., workers can delay return

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said Tuesday that it plans to fully reopen its US offices by the end of January but will give employees the option to defer their return to the office to as late as June.

The social media giant’s “office deferral program” is meant to give workers flexibility in how they return to the office — but also sends the clear message that workers will be expected to return.

The company previously told employees that they could seek approval to continue working remotely full time, though their request may not be approved and if it is, it may come with a pay adjustment.

Under the new program, some staff will still be able to request to be based remotely, Meta said in a statement.

In August, the company announced it was pushing back its official office reopening date from October to January, citing the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement Tuesday that some of the company’s workforce isn’t yet ready to return, and the new program is meant to accommodate them.

“For those wishing to return in January we look forward to providing a vibrant office experience that continues to prioritize health and safety,” Gale said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s rebrand to Meta on Oct. 28.
Facebook/Handout via REUTERS

“We also recognize that some aren’t quite ready to come back,” she added.

“We continue to offer a variety of options to choose what works best for them, so our employees can make informed decisions about where they work.”

The announcement comes as companies, large and small, around the country seek to chart a path out of the pandemic and back to some semblance of normal.

Some companies are urging employees to return physically to the office as soon as possible while others are leaning into remote work to reduce costs and attract new talent.

Throughout the pandemic, Big Tech companies — which are now some of the largest businesses in the world by market capitalization — have paved the way in going remote and delaying workers’ return to the office.

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