On Tuesday, an internal memo sent by CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook is giving $1,000 to all 45,000 of its employees. The goal of the bonus is to provide financial support to workers as they adjust to the coronavirus outbreak.
Although working from home is a luxury for many, it comes with additional expenses. Employees have had to spend money to set up home offices and pay for unanticipated childcare expenses.
It’s unclear whether or not contract employees will also receive the $1,000. However, Facebook did clarify that hourly workers, such as cafeteria and cleaning staff, would still receive regular wages even with reduced hours.
Facebook Investing in Coronavirus Relief Efforts
Businesses in every industry and geography are feeling the effects of the coronavirus. In Silicon Valley, tech giants are encouraging remote work in different ways. As of last week, Twitter’s entire global workforce is now working from home just one week after launching its new “Fleets” feature in Brazil. Google has asked employees in Africa, Europe, North America, and the Middle East to do the same.
Facebook and Amazon have yet to make remote work mandatory. However, their leadership teams have given the green light for those who can work from home to do so. In light of increased delivery demands, Amazon is also ramping up hiring efforts to handle additional shipment volume.
In addition to the $1,000 bonus, Facebook has committed to invest $100 million in small businesses in 30 counties that have been significantly impacted by the virus. According to COO Sheryl Sandberg, businesses can apply to receive money in the form of cash grants or ad credits.
Gig Economy Workers at Risk
The gig economy is currently under a unique type of strain. Gig workers benefit from flexible hours and independence during normal times. However, under the threat of a global pandemic, many have to stay on the front lines to pay the bills.
As millions of people huddle up in their homes, gig workers are the ones making grocery runs, delivering Amazon packages, and bringing takeout orders to front doors. In most cases, these individuals aren’t being compensated for the increased risk of running around in public. It will be interesting to see how employers adjust management practices for gig workers after the coronavirus outbreak subsides.
Video Conferencing Soaring
Some businesses are thriving amidst the global pandemic. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Cisco’s Webex are experiencing record usage, though their stocks don’t reflect it.
According to Senior Vice President Sri Srinivasan, Cisco saw usage increase 22-fold in China during February. In the first 11 days of March, users logged 5.5 billion meeting minutes on its conferencing platform. Zoom enjoyed similar success, as it was the third-highest ranked free app on the Apple store in front of Netflix and YouTube.
Meanwhile, other business sectors and long-time leaders continue to take massive losses. Disney’s downfall, especially, has shaken the confidence of many, as the company has had to close its parks, delay movies, and suspend cruises. On the bright side, Frozen II is coming to a home screen near you early.