In a notable turnaround, Meta Platforms employees are experiencing a renewed sense of enthusiasm as they return to the office, rebounding from a morale crisis that followed the unfortunate layoff of 20,000 colleagues over the past year. This resurgence can be attributed, in part, to the reintroduction of popular pre-pandemic perks, ranging from branded T-shirts to cheerful happy hours.
During the year, staff grappled with uncertainty regarding job security amid ongoing restructuring efforts. This led to a notable dip in productivity as employees grappled with what tasks to focus on, if any. Surviving team members also mourned the absence of departed friends and the scaling back of cherished workplace incentives, as conveyed by multiple current and former employees.
Meta, the parent company of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, has now reinstituted the distribution of branded T-shirts across entire divisions. This revival of a previously shelved practice signifies a shift from Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s proclaimed “year of efficiency” over the last eight months. Employees view this as a positive indicator of the company’s performance, bolstered by two consecutive quarters surpassing Wall Street projections for profits and revenue. Additionally, Meta has discreetly rehired some previously laid-off staff, as disclosed by anonymous insiders familiar with the situation.
At the Menlo Park, California headquarters, most eateries have reopened following pandemic closures. Dinnertime, once a late affair, has been moved up to 6 p.m. Employees also report the return of laundry services, haircuts, Thursday happy hours, and the presence of unique food vendors — collectively making in-person work attendance more appealing, now mandated three days a week.
A spokesperson for Meta has confirmed the reintroduction of amenities coinciding with employees’ return to the office. The spokesperson noted, “Dinner, happy hour, and company swag never really went away, merely adjusted given the pandemic and budgets.”
Beyond the mere existence of these perks, employees are noticing a newfound level of support — a stark contrast to last fall when Meta’s snack bars began to appear disconcertingly sparse. Notably, the popular sparkling beverage, La Croix, favored by millennials, faced shortages in office fridges, signaling a period of significant stock underperformance. This culminated in Meta’s largest workforce reduction, involving 13% of employees, or 11,000 individuals.
Months later, Meta employees are experiencing a renewed camaraderie and collaborative spirit. One worker expressed particular enthusiasm for the return of dinnertime gatherings, while another praised the introduction of a complimentary coffee shop — a novel benefit post-layoffs.
While the stock performance of Meta Platforms closely aligns with employee morale, which has soared to an 18-month high this year, the company still confronts substantial challenges. Growth in users and revenue for its flagship social networks has stagnated, virtual reality initiatives remain resource-intensive, and progress in artificial intelligence is both costly and in nascent stages.
Certain vestiges of cost-cutting persist. Employees report that certain perks, such as Meta’s laundry service, which was previously complimentary, now entail a fee. Some contend that the quality of provided meals has diminished. Furthermore, select positions remain unfilled or face potential reduction upon vacancies.
One employee, cautioning against potential future layoffs, emphasized that any such regression could jeopardize the hard-won progress in restoring the morale of Meta Platforms employees. For the time being, there is an abundance of La Croix to go around, offering a tangible symbol of Meta’s positive trajectory.