For many of Facebook's 45,000 employees, life will never be the same as it was before the pandemic. Mark Zuckerberg said in a video Thursday that the company is going to make remote working permanent for many employees, and it aims to have half its workforce working from home in the next five to 10 years. The CEO says the the move "is going to open up a lot of new talent that previously wouldn't have considered moving to a big city," the Washington Post reports. But they won't all be paid as if they had to afford Bay Area rents. "If you live in a location where the cost of living is dramatically lower, or the cost of labor is lower, then salaries do tend to be somewhat lower in those places," Zuckerberg says.
Zuckerberg says employees will have until Jan. 1 to confirm where they are living. He says those who move to cheaper areas could have their pay cut—and those who lie will face "severe" penalties. He tells the Wall Street Journal that day-to-day productivity during the pandemic has been better than he expected—and the experience will help employees develop new Facebook services. "I think we’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale, for sure," Zuckerberg says. He says the company won't be cutting back on office space at its Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters and nearby locations, since social distancing measures are expected to cut employee density to a quarter of its pre-pandemic level. (Twitter says employees who can work remotely never have to go back to the office)