Meta, the company formally known as Facebook, has had a hard year. After its pivot to the metaverse, its stock price dropped as much as 60 percent. To help calm investor sentiment, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that they are focusing on efficiency. The announcement was quickly followed by mass layoffs of around 12 percent of the company’s workforce. Now they are going forward with another round of layoffs for 10,000 employees and have taken down around 5,000 new job listings.
These layoffs are bad news for the office industry, since Meta and the other companies in the tech pantheon used to account for more new office leases than any other industry. But in this gloomy announcement, there might be a hidden silver lining. Another change that Meta has made in its push for efficiency is to ask that more workers return to the office. Zuckerberg was rather subdued in his remarks on the subject, saying that workers should, “find more opportunities to work with your colleagues in-person.” But the timing of the comment might give employees pause when thinking about working from home.
Work from home has proven to be effective for many roles, at least when looking at sheer productivity. But it is hard not to admit that not sharing a physical office does limit the social bonds created by employees. One repercussion is that remote workers, whether it is warranted or not, might be easier to fire. In a turbulent economy, this fact might supersede all of the other positive aspects of remote work and could be a deciding factor to how much, if at all, an employee chooses to come into the office in-person. When polled, workers consistently say that they would rather work from home than commute to an office, but that answer might change if they knew that working from home could ultimately put them out of a job.