Facebook, AirBnB announce ambitious new Work From Anywhere policies
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Facebook just announced that all 60,000 of the company’s full-time employees are now eligible for permanent work from home privileges, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg tells workers that he himself will be taking advantage of the policy to work remotely about half the time going forward.

“I’ve found that working remotely has given me more space for long-term thinking and helped me spend more time with my family, which has made me happier and more productive at work,” Zuckerberg wrote in a memo to employees on June 9.

The company plans to open it’s existing U.S. offices at 50 percent capacity in September to start letting workers return to their old routines, with a 100 percent rollout by October. But employees at any level of the company can apply to basically work from anywhere if they’re able to prove to their managers that they can be productive on their own terms.

This comes as workers across industries are being pushed to start weighing their long-term plans and decide what facets of their unplanned experiment in WFH they’d like to retain for the long haul.

Facebook will also embrace the “digital nomad” trend that’s fast emerging in a post-pandemic world. Starting next week, the company will allow U.S. employees to request remote work in Canada, while those in Europe may request remote work in the U.K. By January 2022, the company will allow employees to permanently move between seven countries in Europe.

Enabling “digital nomads”

Despite some work-from-anywhere holdouts emerging in the tech sphere (ie. Google’s back-and-forth over their remote flexibility), hybrid or remote work is proving to be much more than just a COVID-era trend.

Just this week, AirBnB announced the “Live Anywhere on AirBnB” pilot, which offers free stay for a year (beginning in July 2021) to 12 individuals and their families who are characterized as “remote workers, creatives, empty nesters, young families, staycationers or digital nomads.” AirBnB will cover all accommodations and provide stipends for the duration of the program, which will call on participants to travel to a new city across the Globe each month.

This comes after AirBnB reported an influx of long-term stays on the platform over the past year, as almost a quarter of all bookings from January through March of 2021 on Airbnb were for 28-plus day stays.

Not losing sight of the office

While remote employees will enjoy these benefits, Facebook hasn’t forgotten about the staff who will prefer (or simply require) returning to the office going forward. A caveat of the hybrid office flexibility being offered by Facebook is that those who do come into the office will have to do so at least 50 percent of the time. The logic here is that this is the best way for Facebook to justify their offices, while getting the most out of the benefits that office-bound workers actually need to thrive (ie. building a community).

The company will also schedule regular in-person gatherings for remote workers and office employees “to support the relationship-building” that the social media giant prides itself on. But Zuckerberg emphasizes that geographical borders need to mean less, as new technologies have made remote collaboration an effective and efficient strategy.

“We’ve learned over the past year that good work can get done anywhere, and I’m even more optimistic that remote work at scale is possible, particularly as remote video presence and virtual reality continue to improve,” Zuckerberg wrote.

That said, there are a lot more considerations that go into living a fully remote lifestyle than an employer that allows a flexible work schedule. Remote workers also need to ensure they have access to all the infrastructure (ie. Internet) they need to actually log onto the job.

Laying the groundwork for a Work From Anywhere infrastructure

Increasingly, while employers across even the most traditionally office-based fields are more open to working remotely today than in the past, many in development, engineering, or tech-heavy roles must be able to ensure they have consistent network access to even qualify for the job.

The trouble here is that many rural areas continue to lag significantly in laying the groundwork for high-capacity broadband that would deliver sufficient Internet speeds out to rural locations. This broader trend of urban decentralization creates new challenges for already strapped IT teams, as delivering optimal internet connectivity to residential and rural communities requires employers to set user expectations around the quality of their network performance.

When dealing with nomadic workers, it becomes even more critical that companies are leveraging tools that grant IT teams necessary visibility into end-user experience from any location. When teams can zero in on performance issues for any app, at any location, any time, they can focus more efforts on making the necessary network optimizations to support remote work for the long hall.

Data Sheet

How to Monitor Work-From-Home Users and VPN Connectivity
Read our data sheet to understand how AppNeta’s Workstation Monitoring Points can be deployed across your remote user base to ensure visibility into the performance of any app, at any location, any time.

Download Data sheet

Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: airbnb , staycation , digital nomad , distributed enterprise , decentralized enterprise , decentralization , distributed workforce , teleworking , flexible work , hybrid work , wfh , wfa , work from anywhere , work from home , Facebook