Facebook Acquires More Office Space, Despite Remote Working Plan

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Social networking platform acquires more office space in Washington, despite allowing staff to work from home until July 2021

Facebook is purchasing more office space with the news it has acquired the former headquarters buildings of US outdoor retailer REI.

According to CNN, the 400,000-square foot campus complex is located in Bellevue, Washington, and REI had planned to move in there this summer, before opting to sell it.

Instead it has sold the entire plot for $390 million. Facebook is reportedly paying $367.6 million for the buildings and most of the land, and the remaining 2 acre undeveloped plot is being purchased by the site developer making up the rest of the purchase price.

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Image credit: Facebook

Puzzling move

Although Facebook has been hiring more staff, despite the global Coronavirus pandemic, the move is somewhat puzzling considering its remote working plans.

Last month the firm extended the right of its workforce to work from home until July 2021, becoming the latest tech giant to extend its remote working policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly all of Facebook’s 48,000 staff have been working remotely since the initial wave of stay-at-home orders back in March 2020.

The social networking giant had previously stated that it would allow staff to work remotely through the end of 2020.

It has even announced a scheme whereby staff can opt to work from home permanently, if they so decide.

Indeed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year that he could see half of Facebook’s employees permanently working remotely within the next five to 10 years.

Despite this, Facebook reportedly insists it needs more office space.

“In order to address our rapidly growing workforce, we continue to make investments in physical office locations,” Facebook told CNN in a statement. “In the second quarter of 2020, we added a record 4,200 net new employees and now have more than 52,000 employees.”

“While Facebook envisions 50 percent of its employees will be working remotely within the next 5-10 years, our offices are still vitally important to our culture and will help accommodate anticipated growth and meet the needs of our employees that need or prefer to work from campus,” it said.

Facebook is of course headquartered in Menlo Park, California, and it already had three other buildings under development in the same business district as the REI site, suggesting a major expansion in the area.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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