Zuckerberg says Facebook work from home is indefinite, slams government's handling of coronavirus

CEO: 'U.S. could’ve avoided this current surge in cases if our government had handled this better'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company's work-from-home policy is indefinite during a Thursday earnings call with analysts.

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The Facebook founder also slammed the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the country's biggest tech companies to implement drastic changes to their remote work policies and general operations.

"Looking forward, I expect the rest of this year to continue to be unpredictable. From a health perspective, with COVID growing quickly in the U.S., there’s currently no end in sight for when our teams here will be able to return to our offices," Zuckerberg said on the call, according to a transcript.

He added that the situation is "incredibly disappointing" because "it seems like the U.S. could’ve avoided this current surge in cases if our government had handled this better."

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Facebook encouraged its employees to start working from home in March when local and state lockdown restrictions largely began in the U.S.

Zuckerberg previously said in a May 21 townhall video that the tech giant was thinking of ways to make its remote work policy more flexible for employees who might wish to work outside of the company's urban office locations in Silicon Valley, New York City, Chicago, Boston and so on.

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In a survey among Facebook employees, 40 percent said they were extremely, very or somewhat interested in working remotely full time, and 75 percent said they would move to a different city if given the opportunity.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Now, the company is working to develop a permanent plan for the company's future that will include more flexible work options.

The social media platform on Thursday posted an 11 percent increase in revenue, beating analysts' expectations of 3 percent growth, despite the pandemic. Shares jumped 7 percent upon the news.

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"Since COVID emerged, people have used our services to stay in touch with friends and family who they can’t be with in person, and to keep their businesses running online even when physical stores are closed," Zuckerberg said during the call. "In many ways, amidst this very difficult period for people around the world, our services are more important now than ever before."

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Facebook also reported a smaller increase in quarterly expenses due to a drop in travel-related costs, Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said during the call, according to the transcript.

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