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Meta faces ‘morale crisis’ as top execs work from other countries during layoffs: report

Meta is reportedly in the midst of a “morale crisis,” with employees grumbling over the fact that many senior executives — Mark Zuckerberg among them — are working remotely from far-flung locales as the tech giant imposes mass layoffs.

Worker anxiety at the parent of Facebook and Instagram has swelled as Zuckerberg spearheads a so-called “year of efficiency” at Meta that has already resulted in more than 21,000 layoffs and the closure of 5,000 unfilled positions. The Meta boss has also nudged remaining workers to spend more time working in the office.

Meanwhile, multiple top bosses — including Meta chief operating officer Javier Olivan, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, head of product Naomi Gleit and chief information security officer Guy Rosen — have relocated far away from the company’s California headquarters, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Olivan is reportedly dividing his time between Silicon Valley and Europe while handling his responsibilities. Gleit has relocated to New York, while Mosseri is working from London and Rosen from Tel Aviv.

The report said the executives have been joining Meta’s weekly meetings remotely, and a spokesman for the company told the New York Times that they make regular trips to the tech giant’s headquarters in Menlo Park.

A lack of presence from top executives, coupled with the major job cuts and a troubled Zuckerberg-led focus on metaverse technology, have reportedly “devastated employee morale” at the company, the Times reported, citing interviews with nine current and former employees as well as internal messages.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg is currently on paternity leave.

“So many of the employees feel like they’re in limbo right now,” Erin Sumner, a former Meta employee who was laid off last November, told the outlet. “They’re saying it’s ‘Hunger Games’ meets ‘Lord of the Flies,’ where everyone is trying to prove their worth to management.”

Zuckerberg himself is currently on paternity leave following the birth of his third child — though he has reportedly maintained an active presence in key meetings on artificial intelligence and other company priorities.

Javier Olivan
Javier Olivan is Meta’s COO.
Getty Images

Employees said Meta’s remaining workers are scrambling to demonstrate their worth to the company — with some even trying to look busier — in order to avoid getting caught up in any future waves of pink slips.

Additionally, internal message boards are said to be rife with morbid posts and memes from employees cracking jokes about the job cuts.

Guy Rosen
Guy Rosen is Meta’s chief infosec officer.

Nevertheless, investors have had a positive reaction to Meta’s “year of efficiency.” The company’s stock is up more than 75% since January after suffering its worst stretch on record last year.

In a blog post last month confirming Meta’s most recent wave of 10,000 layoffs, Zuckerberg reiterated that the company is “committed to distributed work” — even as he prodded employees to spend more time working in the office.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg has proclaimed 2023 a “year of efficiency.”
Getty Images

“Our early analysis of performance data suggests that engineers who either joined Meta in-person and then transferred to remote or remained in-person performed better on average than people who joined remotely,” Zuckerberg said in the post.

Adam Mosseri
Adam Mosseri is head of Instagram.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“This requires further study, but our hypothesis is that it is still easier to build trust in person and that those relationships help us work more effectively,” he added.

When reached for comment, a Meta spokesperson noted that Zuckerberg has not ordered all employees back to the office and stressed that the company is “still very much committed to remote work.”

“There is no return to office mandate,” the spokesperson said.

Naomi Gleit
Naomi Gleit is Meta’s head of product.
Getty Images for Teen Vogue

The spokesperson did not comment on employees’ reported concerns about executives working remotely.

Meta isn’t the only tech giant that has conducted major rounds of layoffs during a recent downturn in the sector. Amazon and Google parent Alphabet have also laid off thousands of employees within the last few months.

Meta has laid off more than 21,000 employees.
AFP via Getty Images

Meta’s most recent round of 10,000 layoffs initially impacted its recruiting teams. Impacted employees on Meta’s tech teams and business groups will learn their fates in late April and late May, respectively, according to Zuckerberg’s blog post.

Zuckerberg’s cost-cutting drive includes an effort to “flatten” Meta’s middle management ranks — with some managers told to find an individual contributor role at the company or leave.

The company is also set to slash bonus payments and ramp up employee reviews in its budget-tightening campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

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