The company’s management team, including Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, is dispersing to locations far from its Silicon Valley headquarters to test the limits of remote work.
Naomi Gleit, the company’s product manager and one of the longest-serving employees, has relocated to New York. Chief marketing officer Alex Schultz is planning to relocate to the UK and Guy Rosen, the company’s vice president of integrity, will be relocating to Israel in the near future, according to a company spokesman.
Meanwhile Javier Olivan, Meta‘S
chief growth officer, has split his time between California and Europe but plans to spend more time overseas, the spokesman said. Meta said last week it will double its Madrid office in Mr Olivan’s home country of Spain to add 2,000 staff over the next five years.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has been on the road in recent months, working from places including Hawaii, Los Angeles and Cape Cod, according to people familiar with the matter and the executive’s social media posts. The spokesman said Mr Mosseri had no plans to move permanently.
According to people familiar with the matter, Mr. Zuckerberg has also spent more time away from the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Mr. Zuckerberg regularly spends extended periods of time at his property in Hawaii and his other homes outside of the Bay Area, people said.
“Recent years have brought new possibilities to the way we connect and work,” said Tracy Clayton, spokeswoman for Meta. “We believe how people work is far more important than where they work from.” He said Mr. Zuckerberg plans to spend more than half his time in California and work remotely the rest of the year.
In the short term, Mr. Zuckerberg will also be without the counsel of his longtime No. 2, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who is taking time off this spring as part of the company’s program to offer 30 days of paid vacation time every five years.
The company’s introduction to remote work follows its name change from Facebook Inc. to Meta in October, when the company signaled it believes virtual first interactions are the future of the web. For work purposes in particular, the company says it has invested in a range of technologies to make remote work more efficient, including video conferencing and business software tools.
The exodus of executives from Menlo Park comes as Meta overcomes significant challenges to its business.
The company’s share price is down more than 32% since it announced its fourth-quarter 2021 results on Feb. 2. That slump cost the company more than $300 billion in market value. The decline was the result of a number of challenges Meta faced, including growing competition from Chinese rival TikTok, a declining user base, and an ongoing impact on the company’s advertising business from privacy changes at Apple inc
iOS, which Meta expects will cost the company around $10 billion this year.
The fact that so many top executives are spread across so many different time zones is worrying considering the company’s recent quarterly results seemed to call for more of an all-hands-on-deck situation, said David Heger, analyst at Edward Jones.
“Given the current situation the company is in, this may not be the ideal time to experiment with your top executives working remotely,” he said.
Meta said in June it would allow all full-time employees to apply to work from home if their jobs allowed, even as the company continued to add office space to accommodate its growing workforce.
This policy does not apply to all employees. Those who work on hardware devices or the company’s data center infrastructure are still expected to come into the office.
Aside from these employees, Meta has transitioned to a hybrid model that allows most employees, including top executives, to work from where they see fit best. March 28 is the company’s return date for those who are expected or wish to return to the office.
The company is in the early stages of building what it calls the metaverse, a term used to describe virtual worlds where people can interact to play or work.
As Meta pushes to create more products for its users that allow them to interact virtually online, having executives geographically distributed could be beneficial, said Stephen Lee, founding director at Logan Capital, a registered investment adviser who is in the Names of meta shares bought customers.
“If you’re trying to build the Metaverse and build workplace systems, learning by doing is probably not a bad way to do it,” Mr. Lee said.
There are few other companies, if any, that take management remote work to this extreme, said Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the Wharton School.
When leaders work together in person, they can collaborate, strategize, and build trust, said Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, where he is a professor of management practice. Being physically together can also help create and maintain a corporate culture, including through mentoring of junior staff.
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“Your people want to see you,” said Mr. George. “They want to know you’re there. Yes, you can use Zoom or Microsoft Teams or something else to keep in touch, but there’s a lot to be said for presence.”
Many executives moved to distant places in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said. But in most cases, Mr George said he believes it serves the company better when leaders are close to their team members.
“I’ve been to Hawaii and I can tell you you don’t do much work over there,” said Mr. George.
Mr. Zuckerberg has found ways to combine work with the fun of Hawaii by sharing his hydrofoil surfing adventures on Instagram and demonstrating the potential of enjoying these activities in the Metaverse.
– Emily Glazer contributed to this article.
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/mark-zuckerberg-and-metas-leadership-take-remote-work-to-the-extreme-11648040580?mod=pls_whats_news_us_business_f Mark Zuckerberg and Meta leadership are taking remote work to the extreme