Employees at Meta Platforms Inc. are slowly starting to enjoy office work more, recovering from a morale crisis that started when 20,000 teammates were laid off last year. One reason: The company has brought back many of its perks that were popular pre-pandemic, from branded T-shirts to happy hours.

Workers have spent much of this year worrying about their jobs during rolling layoffs.Productivity drops because employees Not sure what to do, or whether they should work at all. Multiple current and former employees said employees who survived the layoffs were sad because their friends were no longer at the company and the perks — the little extras that make work fun — were reduced.

Now, entire divisions of Meta, which owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, are ordering their branded T-shirts again, over the past eight months during what CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced is a “one-year” period. The cost was not considered worth it. efficiency.” One employee said they viewed it as a positive sign for the company’s performance, after it beat Wall Street estimates for profit and revenue for two consecutive quarters. Other employees, who requested anonymity to discuss workplace conditions, said Meta also began Rehire some previously laid off employees.

At the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., most restaurants have reopened after pandemic shutdowns. Employees said dinner, which was originally scheduled for later in the evening, has been pushed back to 6 p.m. Laundry service and haircuts are also back, as is Thursday happy hour, with unique vendors setting up food booths — now requiring three days a week in the office, making showing up in person even more appealing.

A Meta spokesperson confirmed the company will restore amenities as employees return to the office. Other benefits never go away. “Dinners, happy hours and company giveaways never really went away, they were just adjusted based on the pandemic and budget,” the spokesperson said.

They said employees not only noticed the benefits existed, but seemed supportive — a stark contrast from last fall, when Mehta’s snack bar began to look suspiciously empty. At headquarters, La Croix, a sparkling drink with fruit “essence”, is so popular among millennials that the office refrigerator is starting to run out of drinks.

When workers first started noticing fewer options, Meta’s stock had its worst performance in history. Investors didn’t buy into Zuckerberg’s vision for virtual reality, and advertisers tightened their budgets.The dismal snack bar heralds a bigger move: Meta’s first major layoffs, 13% layoffs, or 11,000 employees.

Then in March, Zuckerberg announced More layoffs coming, but did not specify who would be fired, leaving employees nervous. The company made a series of layoffs in April and May, reducing its workforce by another 10,000 people and closing 5,000 open positions. The protracted nature of the layoffs has added to the atmosphere of anxiety, with employees wondering whether they will lose their jobs or have to say goodbye to people who are planning future projects. Other major tech companies have also announced hiring freezes and layoffs, making the idea of ​​entering the job market that much scarier.

Now, months after the latest layoffs, Meta employees are even more eager to connect with each other and make plans. One worker said the atmosphere was more positive and the mood was better, and he was most excited about the return of dinner time. Another employee who recently left the company said they enjoyed a new free coffee shop — a new perk they didn’t have before the layoffs.

Meta’s morale has always been closely tied to the company’s stock performance, which has more than doubled this year to 18-month high, thanks in part to Zuckerberg’s “efficiency” mission and his push for artificial intelligence. Meta forecasts double-digit sales growth this quarter.

But Meta is still dealing with some existential threats: User and revenue growth for its flagship social network has stalled; Zuckerberg’s virtual reality efforts continue to drain resources; and advances in artificial intelligence are costly and still in their early stages.

Some evidence of Meta’s cost-cutting efforts remains. Workers say some benefits are not as good as they were before the layoffs. For example, Meta’s laundry service used to be free, but now the company charges. Some employees swore the food wasn’t that good. Employees say some positions are still being cut, or at least not being filled as people leave.

One employee said all progress in restoring morale would be undone if the company pivoted again and made another mass layoff. However, there is still much to see in Lacroix at the moment.

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