Zuckerberg: ‘Easier to build trust’ with 3 days in office

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is joining the ranks of CEOs rethinking the value of remote work. 

In a memo posted Tuesday, Zuckerberg claimed that an “early analysis of performance data” found that engineers with some in-person working time (even if they later transitioned to remote work) “performed better on average than people who joined remotely.” Meta’s CEO also suggested that new engineers worked better “on average” with three days of in-person work with colleagues each week.

“Our hypothesis is that it is still easier to build trust in person and those relationships help us work more effectively,” he wrote.

Like many other tech companies, Meta was an early adopter of remote work during the COVID pandemic. Meta’s peers, like Alphabet and Amazon, are now starting to require some level of in-person work during the week.

While Zuckerberg on Tuesday said the company was “committed to distributed work,” he also encouraged his employees to “find more opportunities to work with your colleagues in person.”

Better for new employees?

Zuckerberg’s fellow tech CEO Marc Benioff is also rethinking the value of remote work for new hires.

Last week, the Salesforce CEO said that recently joined employees should spend some time in the office. “We know empirically that they do better if they’re in the office, meeting people, being onboarded, being trained,” Benioff said in an interview for the On With Kara Swisher podcast. Workers who stayed at home after starting at Salesforce were not as successful, he said. 

Yet Benioff denied he was imposing an office mandate, fearing that pushing the issue too strongly might drive away the company’s top talent.

Other CEOs, like JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, have complained that their company culture was hurt by workers staying at home. Schultz, in a January memo demanding workers come to the office three days a week, said that he feared Starbucks employees were losing “the art of collaboration” and “a connection to a shared mission.”

Surveys generally report that managers are skeptical of remote work, fearing that employees are less productive when they are at home. Workers, on the other hand, report greater productivity from working at home. 

The year of efficiency

Zuckerberg’s memo was meant to update the company’s employees on its “year of efficiency,” a concept Meta’s CEO first coined during an earnings call in February. 

As part of the memo, Zuckerberg announced that Meta would cut 10,000 jobs, as well as close 5,000 open positions. It’s the second round of layoffs for the social media company, following the company’s decision to cut around 11,000 jobs last November.

Meta’s CEO has also promised to cut underperforming projects as part of his plan to streamline the company. On Monday, the company said it would suspend its support for NFTs, just six months after first trying to integrate them to Facebook and Instagram. 

Meta shares jumped 7.3% on Tuesday after the announcement of job cuts.

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