For years, Silicon Valley’s largest companies offered incredible perks, from cafeterias with free food (and excellent chefs) to on-campus gyms and dry cleaning. Is that extravagant era finally coming to an end?
The New York Times recently reported that Meta (formerly Facebook) is eliminating some of its most notable perks, including laundry and dry cleaning. Free dinners have been pushed back from 6 P.M. to 6:30 P.M., after the last departure of the company’s commuter shuttles.
Meta is pinning these changes on the rise of the hybrid work model; many employees working from home for a portion of the week means less demand for in-office perks and benefits. “As we return to the office, we’ve adjusted on-site services and amenities to better reflect the needs of our hybrid work force,” a Meta spokesman said in a statement to the Times. “We believe people and teams will be increasingly distributed in the future, and we’re committed to building an experience that helps everyone be successful.” (As you might expect, the elimination of certain services has sparked employee grumbling.)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when technologists everywhere shifted to full-time remote work, there was zero use for in-office perks. Now that offices are re-opening, companies everywhere have a crucial opportunity to adjust their offerings—and determine what employees actually want and need. “We’re at the beginning of a journey, so the office experience will feel pretty similar to what it was like pre-COVID,” Google Real Estate and Workplace Services VP David Radcliffe recently told CNBC, delving into the search-engine giant’s attempts to re-open. “We’re designing and piloting options to support new ways of working together and we’ll gather insights, data and feedback to help us learn as we go.”
Dice’s latest Salary Report offered some crucial insights into the perks and benefits that technologists consider important. As you might expect, healthcare and paid vacation topped the list; in-office perks such as a cafeteria/free food and on-site gyms were much further down. Whether or not other companies follow Meta’s lead and eliminate luxurious in-office perks, it’s clear that technologists really want benefits that will meaningfully impact their lives—healthcare, help with child care, retirement funding, and more.