Meta postpones return to office until an optimistic March 28

Meta, the company called Facebook at the start of this pandemic, has updated its return to office guidelines, moving the target date from the end of this month to March 28, CNBC reports. With shifting reopening schedules and inconsistent guidance, one can only imagine how the company’s employees must feel with a bang.

Namely, in December 2020, CEO Mark Zuckerberg first told employees that they would not need a COVID-19 vaccine to return to work. At the time, the company predicted that remote work could continue until at least July 2021, though it later pushed to open offices in May. In June, Zuckerberg had issued a new edict: either ask a manager for permission to work from home, or be expected to come to the office at least half of the week.

A month later, the Delta variant came, Zuckerberg changed his stance on employee vaccine requirements, and the company set a new target for a full reopening in October. By August last year, it had pushed the return to office to January 2022. As Omicron spread quickly this winter, Meta stuck to its January 31 target, but gave some employees the option to postpone personal work for three to five months through an “office procrastination program.” Incidentally, this new date of March 28 contains a new requirement that employees also receive the vaccine booster.

In the face of so much uncertainty, several of Meta’s tech colleagues, such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Uber and Docusign, have chosen to postpone reopening indefinitely. Facebook moderators embedded in the company’s Mountain View headquarters would report for office work on Jan. 24 — a week earlier than full-time employees and with no option for otherwise. Their contractor, Accenture, reversed that decision after widespread internal protests from workers.

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