I visited the new Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California last week. As everybody, I could be anything but impressed: the building is 430,000-square-foot, it is the largest open-workspace in the world, and was designed by Franck Ghery, who also designed Los Angeles’ Disney Concert Hall. The various activities offered (room dedicated for video games, nap area, for instance) and the wide range of food options encountered at every corner (hamburgers, coffee place, ice cream place, hot dogs stands, etc.) – definitely gives the wanderer the illusion to be in an attraction park more than in a working space.
Last year, employees on Glassdoor have voted Facebook the No. 1 company to work for overall. Even if Facebook has often been regarded as one of the best places to work in the tech industry, this article is meant to show that this model presents many downsides.
The reviews of the employees are actually very mixed, as it is shown:
The Facebook campus model does enable any work-life balance
The Facebook campus is opened 24/7, and offers food all day long and nap areas to its employees. Some Employees admit that they tend to stay longer to work. A few are even sleeping at the office, and do not eat at home anymore
And employees have to stay connected all the time
“For six weeks out of the year, I’m on 24/7 on-call duty”; “You can never really leave work, even when you’re on vacation”; “Ungodly amounts of email from internal communications, 1,600 or more a day”; “At most companies, you put up a wall between a work personality and a personal one, which ends up with a professional workspace. The wall does not exist at Facebook”
The firm culture can also be called into question
“A large company trying to act like a young one”; “I’ve seen decisions being made by interns”; “Looking too hard at Google”; “Working for Facebook sometimes means wasting a lot of time browsing Facebook”
Even if they benefit of many free services, their life-style is not as healthy as it used to be:
Using free bikes and the gym available on the campus replace the usual weekly exercise. However, most of the employees admit that going to the gym is not part of their regular schedule anymore, and that do not go as often as they used to before joining Facebook. Also, with free food and free snacks often in all the buildings, and at every floor, most of them start gaining weight as soon as they join the firm.
Facebook is accelerating the gentrification of Silicon Valley
Facebook offered employees 10,000$ to live close to the office, and “a lot of local families are going to get hurt” “
The relationships between colleagues are altered
Facebook Employees have to become “Facebook friends” with their colleagues. Do your colleagues always have to be your friends? Some admits that looking the pictures posted daily by colleagues alter the image they have of them and their working relationship
The company does not manage its own growth well
In 2010, Facebook has 1,700 employees. In 2016, it has 11,996, and critics are raised about Facebook’s quick scale up, and inability to keep its start-up culture