'No more free laundry' | Hybrid switch sees Meta axe famous work perks

Hybrid switch sees Meta axe famous work perks

The days of Meta (formerly Facebook) employees receiving lavish perks may be coming to an end. Employees in Silicon Valley who previously enjoyed a free laundry and dry-cleaning service were informed on Friday in an internal Meta post that this service has been cut.

Additionally, their free dinner (offered as a perk for employees who worked late) has now been pushed back from 6pm to 6.30pm. The last shuttle bus into the city leaves at 6pm, so employees no longer have the perk of filling up take-out boxes full of food to eat at home later.

Unsurprisingly, many employees were unhappy about losing their in-office perks. Writing anonymously on Blind (it’s described as an app that provides an anonymous forum for verified staff to discuss issues), one Meta employee said: “Dinner pushed out to 6:30PM. NO Togo boxes, NO reusable containers one can bring even for lunch and other stuff :( :(My kids love the variety of food I bring from Meta. Laundry benefit GONE. I have been using laundry benefit and love that cleaners come home, pick up stuff and bring it back. Such a helpful one where clothes are folded and I don’t have to worry much and focus that time for my axis work. Why, why WHY?? Childcare reimbursements were already cut for 2022 :(:(“

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Meta executives claimed that the changes are due to transitioning to a hybrid work model. “As we return to the office, we’ve adjusted on-site services and amenities to better reflect the needs of our hybrid workforce,” a Meta Spokesperson said in a statement. “We believe people and teams will be increasingly distributed in the future, and we’re committed to building an experience that helps everyone be successful.”

According to the Irish Times, Meta’s Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Bosworth, “assertively defended” the changes, and outgoing Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer also wrote in the comments in support of the changes.

The company has also increased employees’ wellness stipends from £537 ($700) to £2,303 ($3,000) to accommodate for removing some of the other in-office perks.

And despite the anger from some employees, other metamates (as employees at Meta are now known) have also defended the changes and pushed back against accusations that the removal of such perks will damage the company’s culture.

One employee, writing anonymously, claimed that the free dinner service had been subject to “abuse”, The Irish Times reported. “I can honestly say when our peers are cramming three to ten to-go boxes full of steak to take them home, nobody cares about our culture. A decision was made to try and curb some of the abuse while eliminating six million to-go boxes,” the employee wrote. The Irish Times reported that the post received hundreds of comments in support.

The past few months have been difficult for Meta as the company transitioned away from its Facebook social media model towards a future based in the metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg has spent billions remodelling the company – but it seems investors don’t necessarily share his commitment to the metaverse as Meta’s stock price plummeted in February. The company also reported a decline in profit due to the increase in spending on its metaverse projects.

With some employees expressing concern about the new direction the company is taking – including those who were effectively asked to reapply for their own jobs within the metaverse – it seems that Facebook/Meta’s troubles are far from over, and that controversy will dog Zuckerberg’s footsteps for many more months to come.

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