Facebook, Uber and Microsoft plan to bring employees back to offices

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Facebook plans to return to personal work in May, after working remotely for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to BloombergFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans for remote work by the onset of the pandemic that promised about half of its employees could work remotely in the next five to 10 years, but until then is personal work, at least in a limited capacity, in the immediate future of the company.

Facebook is reopening its Bay Area offices – including its Menlo Park headquarters – but is limiting capacity to 10 percent to start. The company does not expect its largest offices to reach 50 percent capacity until September. Bloomberg writes. In addition to limiting the number of people working in the neighborhood, Facebook also plans to require masks, social distances and weekly COVID-19 tests.

Uber hopes to be able to work in person again even faster. The ride-sharing company has announced it will reopen its headquarters in Mission Bay, San Francisco on March 29, with a limited capacity of 20 percent, according to ReutersUber plans to follow similar COVID-19 restrictions to Facebook, requiring face coverings and regular cleaning, and asking employees with sick family members to stay at home. Prior to this reopening plan, Uber had its office workers work from home until mid-September 2021

Other tech companies inside and outside California are taking a more mixed approach (or simply haven’t announced plans yet). Twitter took a big step and made working from home an option for all employees indefinitely when the pandemic broke out. However, the company does not have a set date for the reopening of its offices, but “it will be gradual, office by office and with a capacity of 20 percent,” said a Twitter spokesperson. The edge

Google and Microsoft are exploring future hybrid working models, with Microsoft beginning to reopen its headquarters in Redmond, Washington on March 29. The company also expects working part-time from home to be a standard for all office workers. Google’s plans are less certain, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The edge, but in 2020, it said employees could work from home until September 2021, and it would investigate that employees only have to work in person for three days a week.

Apple did not respond to a request to expand its plans to return to personal work, but the company reportedly ordered a number of employees to return to its offices as early as May 2020.

There are still risks associated with working indoors in close collaboration with others, and getting vaccinated is no guarantee that the virus cannot be transmitted. But now that companies are falling back to the “normal” working conditions that appear after the pandemic, it seems remote work is not going to disappear anytime soon.