(KRON) — Some Roblox employees are being forced to return to the gaming company’s San Mateo headquarters without the option of working from home.
Roblox CEO David Baszucki wrote a lengthy memo to his staff last week stating that the change was an “extremely difficult decision,” and he realizes some remote employees will refuse to return.
“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,” Baszucki wrote. “Unfortunately, I know that some employees will decide not to join us at headquarters,” and quit.
The CEO said he believes his employees are far more innovative when they work together face-to-face, and interacting through Zoom video screens is tiring. Baszucki said, “For many of us, ‘Zoom fatigue’ is real.”
The memo does not include a numbers breakdown for how many Roblox employees must work in the office, and how many will be allowed to work from home.
The new in-office work rules will impact recent college graduates and employees who are early in their careers who “typically learn through social contact and would miss out on this mentorship.”
In contrast, Roblox’s more experienced and knowledgeable employees will be allowed to continue working remotely, the CEO said. These employees are “individuals who have niche skill sets or significant institutional knowledge (e.g., multi-disciplinary skills, deep expertise with Roblox systems),” Baszucki wrote.
Roblox was founded in 2004 by Baszucki and Erik Cassel. The company transitioned to a completely remote workforce when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.
“What we initially thought would be a few weeks turned into a few years. As the pandemic stretched on, several companies announced that they would support 100 percent remote work for everyone, forever. Ultimately, Roblox is an innovation company and we needed to get back to working in person,” Baszucki wrote.
Baszucki said he was initially hopeful that hybrid schedules could work for his company’s culture. But one in-person group meeting in particular dramatically changed the CEO’s mind.
“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. 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,” the CEO wrote.
Roblox employees were given the following options:
- Employees who are asked to begin working from the office will have three months, until January 16, 2024, to make that decision.
- Employees who are not able to relocate will have an additional three months, until April 15, 2024, to transition out of their roles as full-time employees.
- 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, Roblox is asking them to begin working from our San Mateo offices by July 15 2024, and will assist with relocation costs.
Roblox, which dominates the video gaming industry for kids, develops virtual worlds, casual gaming, and player-constructed content. “Roblox is home to over 2,000 employees dedicated to reimagining the way people come together through immersive 3D digital experiences,” the company’s website states.
“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,” Baszucki wrote.