Today I shared an update with our employees about the future of how we work together at Roblox.
Dear Roblox Employees,
Today we will be asking a number of our remote employees to begin working from our headquarters in San Mateo by next summer and transitioning away from remote work at Roblox. We did not make this decision lightly, as we understand that the decision to move is significant, both for our employees and for their families and loved ones. All remote employees will receive an email within the next hour with details about the impact of this decision on the location of their roles.
I would like to explain our rationale for this decision and provide additional details on logistics. I remember clearly the start of the pandemic. I was planning an international trip and watched, day by day, as the likelihood of any sort of travel diminished. Of course, the trip never happened and Roblox transitioned to a completely remote workforce in March 2020. What we initially thought would be a few weeks turned into a few years, and I was impressed with how much we were able to get done under truly extraordinary circumstances.
As the pandemic stretched on, several companies announced that they would support 100 percent remote work for everyone, forever. During this time we had numerous deep discussions and we kept coming back to the notion that, ultimately, Roblox is an innovation company and we needed to get back to working in person. We were also concerned about many cohorts, such as our new college graduates and people early in their careers, who typically learn through social contact and would miss out on this mentorship. And of course this requires the presence of senior employees to provide that mentorship.
I personally hoped that for our culture and our type of work, it might be possible to imagine a heavily hybrid remote culture. But there was a pivotal moment for me when we had our first post-quarantine, in-person group gathering. Within 45 minutes I came away from three separate conversations with spontaneous to do’s and ideas to put in motion, something that hadn’t happened during the past few years of video meetings.
Now, nearly a year after most of us have returned to our headquarters in San Mateo, we’ve seen how much we can accomplish, how far we can push innovation, and how being together strengthens our culture. For many of us, “Zoom fatigue” is real. A three-hour Group Review in person is much less exhausting than over video and brainstorming sessions are more fluid and creative. While I’m confident we will get to a point where virtual workspaces are as engaging, collaborative, and productive as physical spaces, we aren’t there yet.
This is an extremely difficult decision because where we live is a personal choice and it affects all aspects of our lives. We have done everything we can to make this process as systematic and fair as possible. Unfortunately, I know that some employees will decide not to join us at headquarters.
There will be some remote employees who are not asked to return, specifically 1) teams and roles that are required to be remote (e.g., data centers, moderators, call centers, etc.), and 2) individuals who have niche skill sets or significant institutional knowledge (e.g., multi-disciplinary skills, deep expertise with Roblox systems, etc.). At this time, we will not be extending new offers to remote employees, beyond the exceptions outlined above. For the remote employees whom we are asking to move to in-office roles, we will provide the option to join our three-day, in-office schedule (Tues.-Thurs.) or take a severance package.
Our highest and most immediate priority is supporting our remote employees whom we have asked to begin working from our offices, whatever decision they make, and ensuring that our teams have what they need to continue to meet our aggressive goals for this year and next. For managers of remote employees who choose not to move, I understand the burden this may put on you and your teams.
We have put plans in place to make sure we are supporting our teams and individual employees. Here’s a high level overview of how this will work:
- Employees who are asked to begin working from the office will have three months, until January 16th, 2024, to make that decision.
- Employees who are not able to relocate will have an additional three months, until April 15th, 2024, to transition out of their roles as full time employees. Employees will continue to work during this time with no change to their compensation or vesting schedules. This means all employees, regardless of whether or not they chose to relocate, will receive both the November and February quarterly vestings, in addition to any other vestings they have during that time.
- Employees who are departing Roblox will receive a severance package based on their individual level and term of service, along with six months of healthcare coverage for everyone on their policies.
- For employees who choose to relocate, we are asking them to begin working from our San Mateo offices by July 15th 2024, and we will assist with relocation costs.
While we know this is the right decision for Roblox, we recognize that it may create challenges for some of our employees. Regardless of what our remote employees decide, please know that we deeply appreciate the hard work and impact each of you has had at Roblox.