Roblox, the popular gaming company, has implemented a new policy stating that employees who prefer not to work at the company’s physical office for a minimum of three days per week will be required to seek employment elsewhere. In a memo addressed to Roblox’s workforce, company founder and CEO David Baszucki announced this change on a Tuesday. He specified that employees working remotely have until mid-January to make a decision regarding their office presence. Additionally, the company has committed to providing relocation support for those who may require it.
“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,” Baszucki expressed in the memo, which he shared in a blog post titled, “The Future of How We Work Together at Roblox.”
David Baszucki, the CEO of Roblox, has revealed the company’s plans to reach out to a specific number of remote employees without specifying the exact figure. These employees will be requested to return to the company’s headquarters in San Mateo, California, by the upcoming summer.
Roblox’s Shift in Return-to-Office Policy
Roblox, which experienced substantial growth in its business due to children staying at home during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequently went public in 2021, has now joined the ranks of various other companies such as Google, JPMorgan Chase, and the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, in implementing strict return-to-office mandates.
This announcement on Tuesday represents a change of direction for Roblox. In May of the previous year, the company had informed employees that they had the option to either work in the office regularly for a few days a week or to predominantly work remotely, with periodic in-person gatherings.
Barbara Messing, the Chief Marketing Officer of the company, articulated the implementation of a novel work model centered around personal responsibility. This approach grants teams and leaders the autonomy to determine the most effective way to achieve their objectives.
In a recent statement, David Baszucki expressed his personal aspiration for Roblox to embrace a predominantly remote work culture even beyond the pandemic. However, he acknowledged that working in a physical office setting contributes to strengthening the company’s culture and leads to increased innovation and productivity.
Baszucki emphasized the advantages of in-person interactions, stating that a three-hour group review conducted in person is significantly less draining than its virtual counterpart. He also pointed out that brainstorming sessions in a physical setting tend to be more fluid and creative. While he remains confident that virtual workspaces will eventually match the engagement, collaboration, and productivity of physical spaces, he acknowledged that we have not reached that point yet.
Transitioning to a Remote-First Workforce Policy at Roblox
As of December 31, 2023, Roblox reported a workforce of more than 2,100 full-time employees. The company has initiated a policy for those employees who choose not to return to the physical office, offering them a severance package tailored to their individual roles and length of service. Furthermore, these employees will receive six months of healthcare coverage for all individuals on their policies. This transition period for employees opting not to return to the office will extend until mid-April, allowing them three additional months to exit their full-time roles gracefully.
Roblox has taken steps to ensure fairness during this transition. Regardless of whether employees decide to relocate or not, all will receive both the November and February quarterly vestings, along with any other vestings due during this period. The company will maintain a remote workforce for certain roles that require offsite presence, such as data center operators, content moderators, and call center personnel.
Additionally, Roblox will continue to accommodate individuals with specialized skills or extensive institutional knowledge who can effectively work remotely. However, the company will no longer extend new employment offers to remote workers, with the exception of those in offsite positions or those possessing unique and critical skills.
Roblox’s CEO, David Baszucki, acknowledged the challenging nature of this decision, recognizing that an individual’s choice of residence deeply impacts their personal and professional lives. The company’s goal is to ensure a systematic and equitable process while understanding that some employees may choose not to return to headquarters.