Our past should inform our future
Leading with empathy begins with listening. We believe that building the future of work at Meta and beyond must be a collaborative experience with all employees. As we began planning for our return to the office, we started by listening to our colleagues share what shifts the pandemic had on their daily work that we should try to preserve.
For example, we used to fly interviewers to hubs where we’d hire candidates. We understand now that for our recruiting team, having both a candidate and a hiring manager in remote locations provides needed flexibility, greater diversity of talent, and a comparable hiring experience. Over the course of the next year, my team will continue to develop software services that enable hiring managers to recruit and connect with candidates online to meet hiring goals. Employees have also embraced our shift to a virtual help desk experience. Previously, our technical support mirrored a face-to-face tech support model where people could stop in and get whatever they wanted done or fixed. During the pandemic, we provided all tech help remotely — and we’ve seen this change provide colleagues with better, more efficient service because they can seek support 24/7 regardless of their respective time zone.
We must create a democratized work experience
While virtual experiences have their advantages, being in the office has and will remain an important aspect of Meta’s culture. So, as we look toward building a new work experience, we need to understand how to collaborate better and remain productive when some people are in person and others are remote. Before the pandemic, working from home and videoconferencing for every meeting was an experience that was unfamiliar to many of our employees — myself included. But, now that we’ve all had this experience, we’ve also become sensitive to the challenges. Body language is hard to read. It can be challenging to participate remotely during a meeting where other participants are in person. To democratize how we work, we intend to solve challenges like these to ensure that, no matter where you are or how you’re collaborating, you are doing so on equal footing.
For years, we’ve opted to build our own tools because off-the-shelf software wasn’t able to match the speed and scale at which Meta operates. It’s this build culture mentality that drives our desire to democratize services like videoconferencing. We’ve already begun developing videoconferencing features that adjust sound levels to help remote participants hear in-person participants even if they are wearing a mask while in the office. As we continue to scale, we know it can be hard to remember names of new colleagues, especially when a group of them are together in a room. So we’re also developing virtual name tags that are applied to employees sharing a physical space to help remote employees know who is speaking.
We’ll continue building a virtual workplace
Beyond the immediate shifts we are making to improve how we work together, we’re also experimenting with ways that employees can seamlessly come together across augmented, virtual, and physical realities in the not-too-distant future. We are excited by the impact that Horizon Workrooms will have for enterprise businesses. Horizon Workrooms lets people come together to work in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance, and it works across both virtual reality and the web.
Earlier this year, I participated in an executive leadership off-site through Horizon Workrooms, which took place in an office space overlooking the Italian Riviera. It was the first time in months that I had shared a space with many of these individuals. It was awesome. The last time I felt so physically connected with these colleagues was before the pandemic. From customizable avatars that emulate real facial expressions and reactions to the simple ability to whiteboard collectively by using your controller to jot down ideas that others can see in real time, the experience was unparalleled. Over the next year, we’ll continue to test and iterate upon Horizon Workrooms and learn how we can optimize the experience, because we believe that the metaverse will provide us and other businesses a more intimate and cohesive way to collaborate than what is currently available.