Like most tech companies, Facebook sent a lot of its employees home to work remotely when the coronavirus struck. Now Mark Zuckerberg says they can stay at home--but there's one catch: If they move out of a high-cost-of-living area, they'll likely see a pay cut.
Zuckerberg says that by January 1, 2021, people who are approved for full-time remote work will have to notify Facebook of their new location, and their pay will be adjusted accordingly.
This is not a shocking business move. Many businesses pay people differently based on their local cost of living. Most of us can agree that jobs in New York City generally pay more than jobs in rural Idaho.
I think this move by Facebook is a great thing.
Sure, I don't want anybody to get a pay cut, but if you move out of an expensive area, your real cost of living drops. And more important, Zuckerberg says, with this plan, the company will begin recruiting aggressively for remote workers. He notes that they will be able to get a more diverse workforce this way.
When you're limited geographically, that excludes a lot of candidates. You can make your company diverse based on a variety of measures, but with everyone living in the same neighborhoods, they tend to be more alike than different.
If Facebook truly recruits people to work remotely, the talent pool opens up to people who wouldn't consider moving to the Bay Area.
This remote strategy can benefit your business, as well. Not only is it cheaper to employ people outside of the big cities, but also if your business targets the whole country (or the world, as is the case with Facebook), it makes sense to have a staff that represents different geographies.
Zuckerberg added that if people lie about where they live, there will be "severe ramifications." While it sounds harsh, legally it's what he has to do. While federal employment law applies to everyone within the United States, states have employment laws that vary greatly. The state where the employee works covers the employee.
So, it's critical for Facebook, or your business, to know where your employees actually work. They pay taxes there as well. If you don't do taxes and laws correctly, it could land you in some legal hot water.
Remote work has some serious advantages--even if it's not the solution people like to think it is. Not everyone loves it, and it is harder to develop cohesive teams. But, it may be the solution your company needs. Watch and see how it works for Facebook and consider it for yourself.