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Meta return to office ‘a mess’ amid remote work crackdown

Meta return to office ‘a mess’ amid remote work crackdown


Meta, which championed remote work just a few years ago, last month threatened employees with termination if they didn’t comply with a return-to-office mandate requiring their presence three days a week.

While the hybrid work schedule is hardly unique—and a spokesperson told Fortune the company was focused on a “strong, valuable experience” in the office—Meta seems to be having trouble with it. 

“It’s a mess,” one employee said of the company’s return-to-office push, according to Insider. 

While Meta——which owns Facebook and Instagram and has tens of thousands employees around the world—wants staff to interact more in-person, trying to book a conference room to do just that has proven to be consistently difficult, employees told the outlet. There simply are not enough rooms for the number of staff, it appears. 

“We’ve worked to address this with more collaborative spaces and workstations that allow for video calls and focused work,” a Meta spokesman told Insider. “It’s important to note that we have roughly 80 offices around the world and our working to make sure our teams have the best experience possible as we welcome people back to the office.”

Employees have also encountered difficulties securing a desk for sufficient periods of time. Last year, Meta adopted a desk-sharing strategy that allowed people who still worked remotely to book a desk as needed. Now, however, employees called into the office sometimes have to switch from one desk to  another before the day is over. This could feel especially disruptive to those accustomed to a home office. A Meta spokesperson told Insider that desks can be booked a week in advance for up to three days in a row.

But as Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote on Threads: “We have not yet figured out hybrid work. Assigned desks mean lots of empty chairs. Hotel desks mean lots of unfamiliar faces. Pods are good for privacy but take up a ton of space. We have a lot to figure out.”

In 2020, the social media giant said it would start a significant shift to remote work on a permanent basis. CEO Mark Zuckerberg boasted at the time, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale, with a thoughtful and responsible plan for how to do this.” He estimated that about half of the company’s employees would be working remotely within the next five to 10 years. 

But as of Sept. 5 this year, all employees, except those with management-approved exemptions, must be back in the office three days a week, with their presence tracked by card keys and other tools. Those failing to comply could be fired or take a hit on their performance reviews.

“As part of our Year of Efficiency, we’re focusing on understanding this further and finding ways to make sure people build the necessary connections to work effectively,” Zuckerberg wrote to employees in March. “In the meantime, I encourage all of you to find more opportunities to work with your colleagues in person.”

Now, it would seem, the company itself needs to make in-person interaction less of a headache.

Fortune reached out to Meta for further comments but received no immediate reply.


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