An employee perk from one of Silicon Valley's most notable companies has the potential to send ripples of change across the Bay Area. According to San Francisco Business Times, Facebook is offering single employees $10,000 to move closer to their Menlo Park headquarters. Staffers with families can receive $15,000. On the face of it, it seems like remarkable benefit, but the ramifications could be significant.
According to the report, to receive the perk, an employee must buy or rent within 10 miles of the headquarters at One Hacker Way in Menlo Park to receive the payout. The policy has been in effect for approximately 12 months.
The speculation about the company's motivation began immediately after the news was leaked. According a spokesperson quoted in the SFBT, the measure is "designed to support our employees and the people who matter most to them." Others outside the company are worried that an influx of Facebook employees could raise rents, increase home prices, and displace people. John Liotti, CEO of Able Works (an East Palo Alto advocacy group), told reporters: "A lot of local families are going to get hurt."
The article notes that having employees close to the office would benefit the company twofold: employees could stay at work longer and Facebook could potentially save money on commuter shuttles costs. Those same shuttles have commanded the headlines in San Francisco for years. It was just a little more than a year ago that Facebook shuttle drivers voted to unionize. It's also been widely reported that homes and apartments near tech shuttle/bus stops command more money than others.
Put all the pieces altogether, and you have a classic Butterfly Effect scenario where all kinds of outcomes are possible.
It should be noted that the commuter class continues to grow. The article cites a report from Joint Venture showing that the number of people commuting from San Francisco to San Mateo County (where Menlo Park is located) between 2011 and 2013 rose 27 percent. In the same time period, commuting between SF and Alameda County grew by 33 percent; and from SF to Santa Clara by 23 percent.
· Facebook pays staffers $10k to move closer [San Francisco Business Times]
· Teamster Friend Request [Curbed SF]