Still, “communism” has come to the Facebook office: how they live and work in Silicon Valley - ForumDaily
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“Communism” has finally arrived in the Facebook office: how they live and work in Silicon Valley

During a trip to California, I stopped to look at the town-headquarters of the company Facebook. Excursions, as such, are not there, but having a friend among the staff, you can get inside.

The city of Palo Alto, where the company is located, is located approximately one hour from San Francisco (35 minutes without traffic jams, but this happens only at night).

Entrance is through any building. My friend, Nikita Safronenko, who recently joined the ranks of Facebook employees, was already waiting for me at the entrance of house No. 10. To enter the campus, visitors must sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding secrets that may be accidentally discovered during the visit. Then they give you a badge - and you find yourself... in Disneyland for adults.

The Disneyland experience is no coincidence: the part of the campus that opened in 2015 was designed as a cross between the main street of Disneyland and the center of the city of Palo Alto. Frank Gehry, the architect of the nearly four hectare square, is also the author of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Spain.

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I arrived on campus at six in the evening, most of the workers had dinner. Almost all the restaurants in the campus are free for employees.

There are also vending machines with food and drinks, as well as shelves with snacks throughout the town. We had dinner in the main campus cafeteria. The food was delicious and the fig cake was phenomenal.

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With the constant presence of delicious, free food, it's hard not to gain weight. Employees even came up with a special name for the 15 pounds (almost 7 kg) that new recruits gain during their first year at the company - “Facebook 15.”

Keeping fit in the shape of Facebook can be done with bicycles, which the company gives for free (like helmets), a swimming pool, a local gym, a yoga studio and a jogging track.

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But it’s better to take a walk in the park on the roof of the house or play football on the field... also on the roof.

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Other free and subsidized services are difficult to list: a doctor’s office, a maintenance station, a bicycle repair workshop, a dentist (by visits), a bank, a hairdresser’s, a music center, a woodworking workshop, a laundry and dry cleaning, massage rooms, a lawyer’s and financier’s consultations, interest clubs gaming machines.

And there are vending machines for batteries, headphones, chargers and other small items. It is clear that no need to throw coins into it. There is even a room for workers. For a company that operates 24 / 7, this may be a necessary element.

One of Facebook's buildings houses the largest open office in North America. It looks like a factory floor with office tables. It's open 24 hours a day - people work different schedules, but at seven in the evening we saw only a handful of workers still focused on work.

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One of them is programmer Ostap Korkun. He says his task is to make sure that Facebook doesn’t fall. He has been with the company since 2009.

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We met two more Ukrainian engineers on the bridge that unites office buildings. 17 has thousands of Facebook employees (on average) Ukrainians, says Safronenko, only about a hundred, and not all work on the Menlo Park campus. But Ukrainians have a talent to find their own everywhere.

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The openness of office space encourages workers to use numerous meeting rooms.

In the office WhatsApp - especially quiet. Here on the wall is the history of the company, the co-founder of which is a native of the city of Fastov, Kyiv region, Jan Kum. In 2014, he sold the company that created the messaging app, Facebook, for $19,3 billion. Having become a billionaire before the age of 40, he continues to work at Facebook.

Above many jobs you can see the balls in the form of numbers. They are given to employees on the anniversary of hiring.

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Everywhere there are paintings and wall paintings by contemporary artists. Among them are several images and even a statue of a fox. According to local legend, the fox gave birth to cubs on campus and became something of a local mascot.

The only thing I didn’t find here was a kindergarten or nursery. However, there are rooms for expressing milk and parking spaces exclusively for pregnant women. The company also provides employees with $4 thousand after the birth of a child and partially compensates for child care costs ($3 thousand per year, which covers the cost of a nursery or nanny for 2-3 months). Company employees - both women and men - are entitled to 4 months of fully paid leave at any time during the first year of a child's life. For comparison, my maternity leave lasted three months and was partially covered by the unused sick leave and vacation pay I had accumulated at that time.

Company founder Mark Zuckerberg is currently on parental leave. At the end of August, a second child was born into his family, a girl named August. Zuckerberg said he takes a month off immediately after the birth of his child, and then another in December.

When Zuckerberg is at work, any employee of the company can see him on Thursdays.

“On Thursday evening, beer and wine are poured in the dining room, all wishing employees gather, Mark and top managers come and tell us what they have done in the company this week. And anyone can ask them questions, ranging from some algorithm to problems, for example, lack of parking places. Not every large corporation can see an ordinary employee, not to talk to, the executive director. And we have this happening in an informal setting weekly. ”

Well, for those who came to visit Facebook, there is a special pavilion for a photo as a keepsake.

In the next house acquired by Facebook Oculus working on developing an application Facebook Spaces - still in beta, like in a draft version - which makes it possible to use Facebook in virtual reality. I tried. Your page is a three-dimensional reality. For example, you seem to be floating above the city of San Diego (there are many options to choose from), and the video you can watch was shot with a camera with a 360-degree panorama. There are not many such videos yet, but those that exist make an unforgettable impression. I swam with sharks and then found myself in the middle of a flooded street in Florida during Hurricane Irma. also in Facebook Spaces You can create your own avatar, invite your friend's avatar and create three-dimensional images together.

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In general, working in the company of Facebook in Menlo Park, you can never leave it (especially if you live in a nearby apartment complex, housing in which is subsidized by the company for employees). Maybe this is good. But, on the other hand, the thought creeps in: has the company become a kind of cocoon, the lives of whose workers are isolated from the rest of the country? And how does this affect the perception of reality, which, to a large extent, is created on our Facebook pages?

Column posted on blogs Ukrainian service Голоса America. Translation of the blog has prepared the edition “New time".

Published with permission of the author and publication.

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