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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg says employees will be able to work from home permanently

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook's new Shop platform
Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook's new platform for small businesses 03:40

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said that some employees will have the option to work from home permanently, a move that highlights how the novel coronavirus has fueled a shift to remote work for some of the world's largest tech companies.

In an internal employee town hall meeting livestreamed on Facebook, Zuckerberg said the company is going to aggressively open up remote hiring, coupled with a "more measured approach to opening permanent remote work for existing employees." 

Over the next five to 10 years, about half of Facebook's workers could be remote, Zuckerberg said, adding there are "a lot of nuances" as to how the process would roll out. Employees will be eligible to permanently remote work if they're experienced and have a strong recent job performance. They also have to be part of a team that is supporting remote work and get approval by a group leader, Zuckerberg said.

The company will also only open up remote hiring for experienced employees especially engineers, starting in the U.S. and Canada, Zuckerberg said. Facebook said it's also planning to set up new hubs in Atlanta, Dallas and Denver. These hubs aren't necessarily offices but will allow workers to support one another. Over time, the company plans to create a physical space for these workers to gather.

"I just think that approaching this thoughtfully and methodically rather than just swinging the doors open to gonna help us strengthen really important parts of our operational culture," he said.

Zuckerberg's livestream crashed part of the way through the presentation, displaying a pattern similar to a television test card at about 11 a.m. PT. The full video has since been posted online. 

Zuckerberg's remarks come as other tech companies, including Twitter, Square and Shopify, unveil permanent work-from-home policies. It provides a glimpse into how other major tech companies could change working conditions for employees.

Facebook had said previously that those who can do their work remotely will be able to do so through the end of 2020. The company doesn't plan to reopen most of its offices until July 6 at the earliest and will require workers to check their temperature, wear face masks and practice social distancing. Facebook, which has offices throughout the world and its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, will limit workplace capacity to 25%, Bloomberg reported this week. 

Some Facebook employees can't work remotely. That includes people who work on the development of hardware and content reviewers who review counter-terrorism or suicide and self-harm prevention content.

"Supporting remote work affects everyone that you work with and I'm optimistic that we can make this a positive experience broadly, but I also wanna make sure that it's positive for the whole company," he told employees.

As of March, Facebook had more than 48,200 workers worldwide. Zuckerberg said in April during the company's quarterly earnings call that Facebook plans to hire 10,000 people in product and engineering roles this year.

This article originally appeared on CNET.

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