After 21,000 Layoffs, Meta Employees Welcome the Return of Office Snacks, Happy Hours, and Freebies


Having weathered a period of low morale brought on by a series of layoffs in the past year, Meta employees are currently witnessing the resurgence of pre-pandemic benefits, including office snacks, happy hours, and branded freebies.

Meta’s renowned perks have made a comeback as employees gradually transition back to office life, recuperating from a significant morale dip resulting from the unfortunate layoffs of 20,000 colleagues in the past year. Amidst this recovery, there’s a silver lining: the revival of numerous popular pre-pandemic perks, spanning from branded T-shirts to delightful happy hours.

According to a Bloomberg report, Meta employees endured a period of uncertainty as the company underwent successive rounds of layoffs. This uncertainty took a toll on productivity as employees grappled with role ambiguity. Surviving staff also contended with the emotional toll of losing colleagues and the gradual disappearance of workplace benefits that once brought joy to their jobs, according to accounts from both current and former employees.

Now, Meta, the parent company of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, is reintroducing those branded T-shirts—a gesture that was considered extravagant during CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s proclaimed “year of efficiency” over the past eight months. The return of these branded items is viewed by some as a positive indicator of the company’s performance, particularly following two consecutive quarters of surpassing Wall Street’s profit and revenue expectations. Additionally, Meta has initiated the rehiring of some previously laid-off employees, as disclosed by anonymous employees discussing internal developments.

At Meta’s Menlo Park, California headquarters, most of the restaurants that shuttered during the pandemic have reopened. Dining hours have been shifted earlier to 6 p.m., and services such as laundry and haircuts are back. Thursday happy hours are once again a weekly tradition, and unique food vendors have set up shop. These changes aim to make in-person office work more enticing, as the company now mandates employees to be in the office three days a week.

A Meta spokesperson confirmed the reintroduction of these perks as part of the return to office life, noting that some perks had never truly disappeared. “Dinner, happy hour, and company swag never really went away, merely adjusted given the pandemic and budgets,” the spokesperson explained.

Employees are not only observing the return of these perks but also sensing increased support for them—a stark contrast to last fall when the company’s snack bars noticeably dwindled. This decline in snack options aligned with a period of lackluster stock performance for Meta, as investors expressed doubts about Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for virtual reality and advertisers tightened their budgets. The depleted snack bars foreshadowed a more significant event: Meta’s first major layoff, affecting 13 percent of its workforce, or 11,000 employees.

In March, Zuckerberg announced further layoffs, leaving staff in suspense about who would be affected. Subsequent layoffs occurred in April and May, ultimately reducing the workforce by an additional 10,000 employees and eliminating 5,000 open positions. The prolonged nature of these layoffs added to the anxiety as employees pondered their job security and the future of collaborative projects. Meanwhile, other major tech companies also enforced hiring freezes and layoffs, intensifying the challenges of job hunting. Despite these hurdles, Meta employees are gradually regaining their sense of security and workplace satisfaction, buoyed by the return of beloved perks and the company’s improved financial performance.

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