David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame, California.
Ian Tuttle | Getty Images
Roblox employees who don’t want to work at the gaming company’s physical office at least three days a week will need find a job elsewhere.
David Baszucki, Roblox’s founder and CEO, told employees in a memo on Tuesday that remote workers have until mid-January to decide whether they want to starting coming into the office from Tuesday through Thursday, adding that relocation expenses will be provided if needed.
“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 wrote in the memo, which he posted as a blog titled, “The Future of How We Work Together at Roblox.”
Baszucki said the company will be contacting a number of remote employees — though he didn’t specify how many — and asking them to report to work in the company’s headquarters in San Mateo, California, by next summer.
Roblox, which went public in 2021 after seeing its business boom from kids stuck at home during the Covid pandemic, joins a growing list of companies, including Google, JPMorgan Chase and law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell that have instituted strict return-to-office mandates.
Tuesday’s announcement marks an about-face for Roblox, which told employees in May of last year that it was giving “employees the option to either come to the office regularly a few days a week, or to primarily work remotely,” coming in for “quarterly get-togethers.”
“We’ve put together a new work model powered by personal responsibility that gives teams and leaders the flexibility to decide how they work best given their goals,” Barbara Messing, the company’s chief marketing officer, wrote at the time.
Baszucki said in the latest post that he “personally hoped” for Roblox to “imagine a heavily hybrid remote culture,” extending past the pandemic. Ultimately, however, he said working in an office strengthens the company culture and results in more innovative and productive employees.
“A three-hour Group Review in person is much less exhausting than over video and brainstorming sessions are more fluid and creative,” Baszucki wrote. “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.”
As of Dec. 31, Roblox had over 2,100 full-time employees.
Those opting not to come back to the office can take a severance package “based on their individual level and term of service, along with six months of healthcare coverage for everyone on their policies,” Baszucki wrote. They will also have an extra three months, lasting until mid-April, to “transition out of their roles as full time employees,” he added.
“This means all employees, regardless of whether or not they chose to relocate, will receive both the November and February quarterly vestings, in addition to any other vestings they have during that time,” he said.
Roblox will still employ some remote employees with roles that require them to be offsite, such as data center operators, content moderators and call center workers.
Additionally, Roblox will let some “individuals who have niche skill sets or significant institutional knowledge” also continue to work remotely, Baszuki said. The company will not extend new offers to remote employees, except for those who work in off-site positions or have particular skills.
“This is an extremely difficult decision because where we live is a personal choice and it affects all aspects of our lives,” Baszucki wrote. “We have done everything we can to make this process as systematic and fair as possible. Unfortunately, I know that some employees will decide not to join us at headquarters.”