Tech

Meta tells staff they can defer their office return by three to five months

A worker picks up trash in front of a new logo and the name ‘Meta’ on the sign in front of Facebook headquarters on October 28, 2021 in Menlo Park, California.

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Meta, formerly Facebook, has announced it will fully reopen its U.S. offices on Jan. 31, while allowing employees the option to delay their return to the office by three to five months.

The social media behemoth said Tuesday the “office deferral program” is designed to give its employees flexibility when it comes to returning to the office.

In August, Meta said that it intended to delay its plan to return U.S. employees to their office until Jan. 2022 due to ongoing concerns with Covid-19.

Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement that Meta recognizes some staff aren’t ready to come back.

“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.

“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.”

Meta said certain staff will be able to request to work remotely full-time if it’s possible for them to do their job away from the office.

“Data, not dates, is what drives our approach for returning to the office,” the company had said.

Adapting to new variants

Companies around the world are being forced to rethink their return to work strategies as the omicron Covid-19 variant continues to spread rapidly.

Google said last week that it has indefinitely delayed its January return-to-office plan globally.

The company’s security VP, Chris Rackow, wrote in the email to full-time employees that it will wait until the new year to assess when U.S. offices can safely return to a “stable, long-term working environment.” None of the U.S. locations will adopt the hybrid working mandate on Jan. 10 as planned, his email said.

Meta had previously aimed to return employees to its offices in October with strict vaccination and mask requirements but those plans were scrapped.

— Additional reporting by CNBC’s Jennifer Elias.


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