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Facebook sets reopening for Silicon Valley campuses

·2-min read

Facebook on Friday said its Silicon Valley offices will begin reopening to workers in May after a yearlong pandemic shutdown, but without perks such as free food and commuter shuttles.

The Menlo Park headquarters and other locations in the region will start with 10 percent of "maximum seated capacity," the social media giant said.

Facebook and other Silicon Valley firms shifted to remote work early in the pandemic, relying on the internet tools they create to get jobs done.

The rollout of vaccines and improving health conditions were cited as reasons it is preparing to gradually welcome employees back to abandoned campuses.

"The health and safety of our employees and neighbors in the community is our top priority and we're taking a measured approach to reopening offices," Facebook spokesperson Chloe Meyere said in response to an AFP inquiry.

"We have a number of safety protocols in place including physical distancing and masks required at all times when in an office, and where possible, weekly testing requirements for anyone working on site."

Facebook's plan is to open select offices in the Silicon Valley area on a rolling basis, limiting seating capacity to no more than 10 percent as a start.

Free food, workout centers, shuttle buses with Wi-Fi and other amenities that were long a part of life at Facebook campuses will not be provided until it is deemed safe for normal operations, according to the company.

Employees are being given the option to work from home until early July, with those not designated as full-time remote workers expected to return to offices later.

Facebook did not expect to have its largest sites at 50 percent capacity until after the first week of September.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects the shift to remote work to be a lasting one at the leading social network, which plans to look for employees able to do their jobs from wherever they happen to live.

Google-parent Alphabet late last year delayed the return of workers to its offices until at least September 2021 and said it was testing "flexible work weeks" for the longer term.

Microsoft also recently announced plans to reopen its headquarters and implement a "hybrid" workplace with flexible options.

gc/rl