Meta Platforms is the latest to revise its plans for an office return amid a surge in coronavirus cases, pushing its reopening back while adding a Covid-19 booster mandate.
Facebook’s parent company is looking to bring employees back to the office on March 28, Reuters reported. The new return date is almost two months later than its previously planned return on Jan. 31, and the decision comes a month after the company offered an option for employees to defer returning to the office.
In addition to the delay, proof of Covid-19 vaccine boosters will be required for in-office employees. Reuters noted vaccinations were already a requirement for U.S. employees working from the office.
Employees face a March 14 deadline to request either full-time or temporary remote working status, according to Reuters. That option is reserved for employees with medical or religious exemptions.
“Employees who take no action can face disciplinary measures, including termination,” a company spokesperson told Reuters. “Obviously, this would be a last resort.”
Spikes in new coronavirus cases and the spread of the omicron variant have prompted some of the biggest names in tech and finance to change their policies on bringing employees back to the office.
In recent weeks, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase announced they were giving employees the option to work from home for the first few weeks of 2022. Citigroup and Bank of America also encouraged staff to log on remotely through early January.
The pandemic previously roiled return plans for offices in mid-2021. As cases surged nationwide amid the spread of the delta coronavirus variant, many companies were unable to bring employees back to the office by Labor Day.
While Meta is pushing back its office return, the company is still a believer in the future of offices.
The company recently signed a major deal in Austin, Texas, where it leased all of the office space in the Sixth and Guadalupe building. The lease includes 589,000 square feet across 33 floors at the building, which is under construction and expected to be completed in 2023.
[Reuters] — Holden Walter-Warner