October 14th, 2019 was the second Monday of the month, which is a national holiday "The National Columbus Day" for many American countries. But, it wasn’t the case in San Francisco. That day, I was at Twitter and I had a meeting at 2pm. All morning, one thing kept going over and over in my mind: How can I join the group of ladies who will visit Facebook Headquarters at 5pm?
Indeed, the Techwomen program scheduled a visit to Facebook HQ that day, leaded by the cultural mentor and the technical program manager at Facebook Shagufta Ahmed, but the number of participants was limited and the registration for the event was closed days ago. Fortunately, at noon, I met Menna Ayad an engineer from Egypt hosted at Twitter; she told me that a lady has already unsubscribed from the event. Immediately, I registered to the event through the mobile application. I was very grateful to be able to achieve one of my objectives on my long wish list.
At Facebook, we started the visit with two short presentations. The first presentation, given by Marie Carter, was about Facebook campus and values, while the second one was given by Shagufta Ahmed and was about Facebook Data Center. Afterwards, we attended an interesting panel discussion with Simeng Dai and the two Moroccan ladies Amal Elhadri and Amal Lozi working there. They talked about Facebook team culture and shared with us some of their experiences.
After that, the visitors were split into groups, and each group was guided by an employee from Facebook. I was happy to be with the Moroccan participants and have Amal Elhadri as a guide. Together, we spent a wonderful time visiting the place and talking about Facebook values and mission.
Be Open, Be Bold, Move Fast and Focus on the Impact
Inside Facebook, the buildings are designed to reflect the social networking company’s culture and to reveal its atmosphere of change and innovation: "Be Open, Be Bold, Move Fast, Focus on the Impact".
I read somewhere that Facebook hired two consultants from Disney to make the campus look like a small town. No wonder I had the feeling to be in Disney Land! In fact, the campus resembles a small village with colorful buildings, walkways, trees and benches. Beautiful small bridges whose design was inspired from the Golden Gate Bridge, link between the buildings to reflect the social networking company’s stated mission of bringing communities together and to remind the “Be Open” value to employees and visitors.
Moreover, Facebook offers amazing work areas to its employees that help them relieve their stress and encourage them to be creative and to focus on creating impact. So, if you are a passionate reader like me, there are kiosks where you can borrow books to read for free! If you like chess, there is a place where you can play it. There is also a gaming room called “The Arcade” open to employees and visitors alike.
Facebook offers a kind of village with all the amenities where employees can gather, create and relax. There are accessible bikes that employees can use to move from place to place in the huge campus. There are showers, lockers, changing rooms, dry cleaning, nail salon, massage chair… There are vending machines for food but also vending machines for electronic gadgets. There is a shop store where you can buy some gifts like tee-shirts, stickers…
Or, if you need just a place to relax, there is a big roof top garden, where you can simply admire the trees and birds!
In Facebook, all corridors and walls give you the impression that you are in an art gallery; you see everywhere posters and some beautiful artworks. Employees are encouraged to create their own art and print posters. They also have been provided numerous walls where they can express their opinions. These walls mirror the main social network’s goal which is helping to connect people.
After the tour, it was dinner time. No one is going hungry at this place! Facebook has many restaurants offered to the employees and their guests for free. There is a barbecue place, a pizza place, a taco place, a burger place, a juice bar, an ice cream bar, a dessert bar and much more. Actually, I felt like I was in a park not in a company, especially when I saw some employees sitting there with their families. I was told later that if you work at Facebook you have the right to invite your family. I noticed that people there were very kind and courteous and looked happy. Diversity in the place really reflects the social platform culture.
The restaurant isn’t the only place where you can eat. Indeed, each floor has a kitchen; if you are an employee or a visitor you can bring coffee or anything from fridges: snacks, soda, organic juices, tea and spark water for free!
During the tour, I forgot that I was in a technology company. It was like a tourist area! The only time I felt that I was in a workplace was when we visited the open space offices where taking pictures was prohibited. The open space also includes designated areas for meetings and quiet independent work. All employee workstations are equipped with height-adjustable desks. Even Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, is located at one of these open plan workstations.
The Facebook campus exceeded completely my expectations. This was a great learning opportunity and an unforgettable experience. At the end of the visit, an idea was on my mind: It is not by chance that Facebook is the world’s number one social media platform. The campus reflects the creativity, the care and the respect that the company shows for their high skilled employees. This is a place where you can see collaboration and innovation. This is a place where you can feel a lot of energy and enthusiasm!
The Rabbit is now running. He looks happy!
Do you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear?
He approaches a flock of birds and they leave together! Who are they and where are they going?
We should follow him to know…
Stay connected and be awake!