Like many tech companies, Facebook has had most of its workforce working from home over the past eight months. The company has even told employees they should expect that to continue until July 2021. After that, Facebook says it plans to eventually have at least half of its workforce working remotely permanently.
To facilitate that, the company is hiring a director of remote work, who will be responsible for managing the employee experience of those who aren't working in the office.
Brynn Harrington, who is Facebook's vice president of people growth, told Fast Company the company needs its employees to "be successful whether they're at the office or not. We need to be able to enable teams to work connected in a unified experience."
To that end, "the remote experience should be the Facebook experience," Harrington says. Really, those three words, "the Facebook experience," may seem simple, but they describe how every company should be thinking about how they set up their teams for working remotely.
I want to unpack that for a minute, because, honestly, not only do I think it's brilliant, but I also think it's so easy for companies to completely overlook. Here's what I mean.
The Facebook Experience
Every company has a culture and experience of working there. You hear stories of what it's like to work at Facebook, or Google, or Apple. It's just as true for your company. The trick is making the experience cohesive for everyone.
In many companies, the in-office team and the remote team exist in completely different worlds. They operate differently and, in some cases, have little interaction with each other.
I've worked for a company where roughly 70 percent of the company was remote, but there was still a team in an office in midtown Manhattan. In that case, there were two very distinct cultures that existed by the nature of the types of interactions each group had on a daily basis. One group sat at desks near one another, went out to lunch, and had meetings in one of the several conference rooms.
The other group worked out of room in their home, attended meetings via Zoom, and ate their own lunch in the kitchen, often while making something for their kids as well. It's hard to argue those are the same experience, and as a result, they had different cultures.
No one set out to create different cultures, and it certainly wasn't intentional. Of course, that's the point--you have to be intentional. I don't think that's a unique experience for that company, and Facebook's simple plan is something every leader should keep in mind.
Facebook wants to create one culture, and one working experience for its team. That requires an intentional effort to consider the needs of a workforce with very distinct environments.
"We know we can't just design a remote experience and leave the office as it was," Harrington said. "We need to help people be successful where they are." Facebook is saying that's the experience they want for both their in-person and remote teams and is even hiring a top-level employee to make it happen.
That should be your goal. You should strive to "help people be successful where they are," whatever that looks like. It all starts with creating one culture, and more important, one experience.