In an interview with weekly Total Rewards Action Call facilitator Mark Englizian, Supriya Bahri and Steve Braun discussed perspectives on remote work and compensation policies at Facebook during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bahri is the company’s Senior Director of Compensation, and Braun is Facebook’s Vice President of Global Benefits.
Key topics from the call:
- Facebook predicts that half of its employees will work remotely in the coming 5 -10 years. Bahri says that discussion about expanding remote work options was underway prior to the pandemic and has accelerated subsequenty. Among perceived benefits:
The expansion of remote work options is viewed as a win/win for the company (above reasons) and for employees who want to work from home or elsewhere.
- Support for a better environment by reducing commuting and enhancing productivity
- Access to new talent pools, especially those beyond traditional tech centers
- Ability to spread economic opportunity more evenly across the U.S. and the world
- Ability to build and retain a more diverse workforce
Successful expansion of remote work requires a thoughtful and measured approach. Bahri and Braun emphasize that Facebook is slowly evolving the idea of greater remote work opportunities as it looks to the future. They anticipate that movement of jobs to remote settings will take place in waves
Business leaders within the company are actively involved in early examinations of the roles and departments that make sense to take remote. Services-oriented positions and functions will lend themselves better to relocation than those focused on such tasks as hardware development, for instance. More specifics are expected as the evolution progresses.
Facebook compensation is location-based. While that salary-differential practice is of interest to companies contemplating broader remote work models, it is not new to Facebook and many of its peer organizations.
Facebook is expanding the use of location-based comp in concert with expansion of remote work. Previously based on 20 locations, plans call for widening that to encompass the entire U.S. and several other countries.
“We want to continue to lean into our existing principles and philosophies to pay at the location, role, and level,” says Bahri, “while also expanding to more full-time work opportunities.” She adds that the company uses market data and specialized surveys to ensure that compensation is market-based. Further, internal company communications reference and reinforce the fact that pay is market-driven and based on location.
Although Silicon Valley companies are widely known for on-site perquisites in their locations, Facebook doesn’t envision loss of access to perks as a hindrance to remote work expansion. Braun explains the company’s perspective:
“At our hubs around the world, we have fairly extensive offerings of foods and services. But those are there for the convenience of employees. We don’t necessarily put value in front of convenience – it’s the convenience of access and being productive on location. The move to remote keeps that idea intact – there is nothing more convenient than being able to work at a location of your choice."
He adds that Facebook has offered support to employees (in the form of $1000 to help workers establish home offices) and plans another payment of that amount this year to aid in continued work-from-home support that enables productivity.
Also on today’s call:
- An instant poll asked about plans to support remote work in attendees’ organizations. Top responses:
- 49% reported having plans for people to return to sites, but said they will offer flexibility on how often employees work from home vs at work locations
- 29% said their plans lean heavily toward allowing employees to work remotely; we expect 50% or more of professional employees to choose that option
- A second poll on compensation in multi-location organizations and found these top responses:
- 47% have local pay structures linked to cost-of-salary research; each employee has a work location identified for local pay and tax withholding purposes
- 33% have regional pay structures linked to cost-of-salary research; each employee has a work location identified for regional pay and tax withholding purposes
The recording of the session and its full range of discussion topics is available at i4cp’s Employer Resource Center, which also provides the latest research and practices to help organizations support their employees and respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.