The days of authority for Facebook’s lavish employee perks may be about to end.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, told employees Friday that it was reducing or eliminating free services like laundry and dry cleaning and was paying the dinner bell for a free meal from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., according to Seven. The employees who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The new dinner time is a nuisance because the last company buses that transport employees to and from their homes usually leave the office at 6 p.m., and it will also make it difficult for workers to stock up on huge boxes of food and bring them to their refrigerators at home.
The moves are a reflection of changing workplace culture in Silicon Valley. Tech companies, which often offer lifestyle benefits versus employees who spend long hours in the office, are preparing to adapt to the new hybrid business model.
At Meta, for example, many employees are scheduled to return to the company’s offices on March 28, although some will continue to work from home and others will come to the office at a lower rate.
The changes to Meta may be a warning shot for employees at other companies preparing to return to the office two years after the coronavirus pandemic. Google, Amazon, Meta, and others have long offered conveniences like on-site medical care, sushi buffets, candy stores, and beanbags to attract and retain top talent, which still commands a premium in the tech industry.
Meta has had a difficult few months, although company officials say the changes to the privileges are irrelevant. For the first time in years, investors have been questioning the long-term prospects for the company’s advertising business model. Its market capitalization has halved to $515 billion. Some employees debate whether they should look for new jobs because they see the value of their stock-based compensation decline.
Meta has been discussing changes to its franchise program for months as it explored how to switch to the new hybrid workplace model, two employees said. The company has also expanded employee health salaries from about $700 to $3,000 this year in an effort to accommodate the removal of some other in-office perks.
“As we return to the office, we have adjusted on-site services and facilities to better reflect the needs of our mixed workforce,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement. “We believe that people and teams will be increasingly distributed in the future, and we are committed to building an experience that helps everyone achieve success.”
Several workers were quick to plunge into the comments section at the bottom of the post to announce the change, according to several employees who viewed the post. Just minutes after the changes were announced, employees asked if the company plans to compensate them in new ways and whether Meta has conducted an employee survey to assess how the changes affect employees.
Meta executives, who have been trying to trick the needle of clamping down on misinformation linked to the war in Ukraine and facing a total Facebook and Instagram ban in Russia, seemed impatient with questions.
In a tone that several employees described as combative, Meta chief technical officer Andrew Bosworth firmly defended some of the changes and resented the perceived sense of entitlement displayed in the comments, according to staff who watched the thread. Mike Schroepfer, the outgoing chief technical officer, wrote in the comments in support of the changes.
Another employee who worked on the company’s food service team pushed harder, according to two people who viewed the post.
The employee said, responding to others’ assurances that the changes would damage the meta workplace culture. “A decision was made to try to curb some of the abuse while getting rid of the six million roving boxes.”
Several employees seem to agree. As of midday Friday, the employee’s post was the most liked comment on the topic, with hundreds of workers expressing their support.
“Reader. Infuriatingly humble coffee enthusiast. Future teen idol. Tv nerd. Explorer. Organizer. Twitter aficionado. Evil music fanatic.”