(Photo Credit: Michael Halberstadt/Flickr)
Facebook is partnering with a local developer to build a 394-unit housing community within walking distance to its Menlo Park headquarters, the social networking behemoth announced earlier this month.
The complex will feature mostly one and two-bedroom residences with some studio and three-bedroom options. It comes with a number of perks, including: a convenience store, cafe, sports pub, bicycle repair shop, gym, yoga studio, pools, an entertainment deck and even a doggy day care.
But, to me, the biggest perk is the location. Traffic in and out of Silicon Valley is a nightmare. A recent study said the area has the seventh most congested roadways in the country. Being stuck in traffic pulls people away from doing things they would much rather be doing. Recreating the college experience of walking back to the dorms after class is a good thing.
There are potential drawbacks. Employees won't be expected to continue work at home, but if your neighbors are taking work home with them, you might feel obligated to work 24/7, too. Even if you don't feel the pressure, just being surrounded by coworkers at all times could be a drag. (Note: The residences will be open to non-Facebook employees as well.)
The Wall Street Journal reminds us companies building housing for their employees is nothing new. Around the turn of the last century, large American corporations built company towns for their factory workers. Often, in those cases, the social pressure of constant work proved overbearing.
However, I would argue that Mark Zuckerberg building a housing complex in a metropolitan area that could hold, at most, 10 percent of Facebook's employees is much different than Andrew Carnegie building an entire town for all of his factory workers in the middle of who knows where.
In short, I LIKE Facebook's housing project. (Yes, that's the cheesiest end to a blog in the history of the Internet. Give me a break.)
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