Facebook's looking to do its part to assist its staff, and the local communities in which it operates, by providing all of its employees with a $1,000 bonus to help them cope with issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak, along with other immediate benefits.
Facebook Engineering Manager Zack Argyle shared this list of Facebook's latest employee initiatives on Twitter:
Facebook isn’t perfect, but wow does it take care of its employees.— Zack Argyle (@ZackArgyle) March 17, 2020
1) $1000 added to next paycheck
2) Free Portal device for VC calls
3) No performance rating this half
4) Biannual bonus will be paid as though all employees got Exceeds Expectations for their rating
At the end of 2019, Facebook had around 45,000 employees, so the incentive program will cost the company at least $45 million, not including the respective bonuses based on performance, or the cost of the provision of Portal units.
It's the latest of Facebook's various initiatives to help mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic - in addition to this, Facebook is also:
- Allocating a $100 million in grants to assist SMBs in dealing with the COVID-19 fallout
- Launching a $1 million program to support fact-checkers and help deal with COVID-19 misinformation
- Providing $1 million in grant funding to help local newsrooms provide more accurate, timely COVID-19 updates
- Matching up to $20 million in donations across two separate fundraisers for research into the COVID-19 outbreak.
Facebook, of course, has the capacity to assist. The company generated $71 billion in revenue in 2019 alone, and if anything, with more people interacting online amid the lockdowns, Facebook is likely to see even more use, and more advertiser interest across its apps. But even so, Facebook doesn't have to give back in this way. The company is working to provide assistance to a range of community groups and causes, providing funding which will go a long way in helping to stem the impacts of the outbreak.
But nothing will be able to fully match the losses we're likely to see. Even if Facebook were to put all of its billions back into various initiatives, that still likely wouldn't be enough. The impacts of COVID-19 will be evident for years to come, and will be most acutely felt by small businesses in local communities, many of whom were already on the brink.
Given this, Facebook's bonuses here essentially work as a stimulus for those local operators in regions where Facebook's employees live. If the company can get its employees to maintain their spending with local SMB's, that could go some way to at least propping up these businesses in a time of their greatest need.
Even if you don't work for Facebook, this is something we should all consider. You won't be buying your coffee from the cafe near your office during the lockdowns, you won't be getting your lunch from the corner takeaway. Maybe, if you can, you could consider getting dinner delivered from a restaurant nearby your home where possible, or looking at what local cafes you might be able to get a coffee from instead, contributing to the local economy.
It's tough, times are going to be hard for everyone, but putting back into the community, where you're able, will help in the longer term.