In early 2009 Facebook moved from its plush HQ in Palo Alto, California to Stanford Research Park, previously home to pioneering American firms such as Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin. Earlier this year, the social network site announced that it was moving its base of operations again, to Menlo Park. Following news that Facebook has signed up 30 million UK users, it appears that it's optimism knows no bounds, as it announced plans today to expand the HQ at Menlo Park to accomodate a larger workforce.
The 1,500 people currently working for Facebook at Stanford Research Park are gradually being relocated to the East Campus of Menlo Park, which is being renovated. Facebook's ambition however is to employ around 9,000 people, an ambition that the East Campus at Menlo Park , with a total capacity of 6,600, is simply not enough to realise. The plan then is to extend Menlo Park across Highway 84 and create a new West Campus which will house another 2,800 employees.
Employing a workforce of 9,000 people brings about new challenges of rush hour traffic and parking around the Menlo Park site, however Facebook are committed to alleviating these problems in an eco-friendly manner. Despite the five storey parking deck that will be the centrepiece of the West Campus, Facebook will offer shuttles, free Caltrain passes and organised van pools to try and discourage single-driver commuting.
Most of all, Facebook is very committed to promoting bike commuting. Buildings will have showers and towel service, lockers for commuters, bike shelters and a bike-loan service for the more tentative bicyclist. The new campus will even have a 'bike doctor' to help with repairs and general bike-related issues.
Employees in the new West Campus will certainly be well fed. The campus will have two cafés serving three meals through-out the day, a coffee shop, open pit BBQ, a taco shack, a pizza stand and a salad bar. Facebook employees will also be looked after by the addition of a fitness center, a cinema and an on-site doctor.
Construction itself won't begin until 2013, as the West Campus needs an environmental review before anyone can start laying foundations. But the plans themselves are very exciting. The blue-hued social network is now in direct competition with other net based colossi such as Google, as evidenced by Facebook's direct criticism of Google+ last week. and these plans show they are willing to match Google's dedication to their workers and consequent dedication to growth and improvement.
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