Facebook’s well-publicized work perks now include a sizable bonus to encourage employees to move closer to its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
To qualify, workers have to buy or rent within 10 miles of the Facebook office at One Hacker Way, which is located around 30 miles (48 km) south of San Francisco, reports Reuters. Some employees could even earn a lump sum of $15,000 or more, depending on housing costs.
“Our benefits at Facebook are designed to support our employees and the people who matter most to them at all stages of life,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters.
Critics of the scheme — including community advocacy groups — warn that it could lead to the gentrification of nearby low-income areas, such as East Palo Alto, as well as displace local residents.
For the social networking giant, the move offers the chance to encourage employees to spend more time at work (rather than in a commute that can take up to 90 minutes each way). It has also been suggested that Facebook hopes the proposal will help cut the cost of its luxury bus service, the drivers of which recently unionized.
The bonus, which has been on the cards at Facebook for a year now, could potentially backfire for employees. One such negative scenario: Landlords in the ten-mile vicinity around Facebook HQ might raise house prices in expectation of an influx of well-paid techies. Additionally, the median home value in Menlo Park is currently $1.96 million, according to figures from Zillow cited by PC Magazine, meaning $10,000 may not make a difference in the larger scheme of things.
Facebook moved into its Frank Gehry-designed Menlo Park HQ earlier this year. Built for 2,800 employees, the site offers around 430,000 square feet of interior space, which employees are able to see almost end-to-end.