Facebook on Thursday notified its employees that it is delaying its corporate office reopenings until next year. The new policy applies to US offices and may extend to offices in some other countries, the social media giant confirmed to ZDNet.
Facebook also recently imposed a new policy requiring anyone coming into work at its US offices to be vaccinated. Additionally, all employees in the office must wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.
"Data, not dates, is what drives our approach for returning to the office," Facebook spokesperson Tracy Clayton said in a statement. "Given the recent health data showing rising Covid cases based on the Delta variant, our teams in the US will not be required to go back to the office until January 2022. We expect this to be the case for some countries outside of the US, as well. We continue to monitor the situation and work with experts to ensure our return to office plans prioritize everyone's safety."
To inform its policies, Facebook said it primarily monitors local health data, emphasising key metrics, including things like local case and vaccination rates, ICU capacity, local access to testing and therapeutics, and government guidance. The company also reviews quantitative and qualitative health data from multiple sources like leading universities and health institutions, including the World Health Organization.
Facebook was one of the first tech companies in 2020 to close its US offices nationwide. In June of this year, it expanded its remote work policy, opening up the option to anyone within the company whose work can be performed out of the office.
Back in June, the company said it was on track to open most of its US offices at 50% capacity by early September, with plans to reopen them fully in October. Now, Facebook said it still expects to be able to re-open some sites later this year at varying capacities.
Other tech companies are similarly pushing back plans to open their offices as COVID-19 cases once again surge. Earlier this month, Amazon said it expects employees in the US and other countries to come in on January 3, 2022, regularly. Meanwhile, Microsoft said it was once again pushing back the earliest date for the full opening of its US worksites to October 4. Google is also extending its voluntary work-from-home policy through late October. Both Google and Microsoft will start requiring workers to be vaccinated before coming into the office.