Fresh headache for Twitter employees as Elon Musk ends remote work in 1st email

In another turn of events since his dramatic takeover of Twitter, Elon Musk has informed employees of the social media company that remote work will no longer be allowed, as they are expected to show up in the office for at least 40 hours per week.

Bloomberg reports that the self-styled “Chief Twit” made this known in an email to employees in the late hours of Wednesday, urging them to prepare for “difficult times ahead”.

In the said email, Musk noted that there was “no way to sugarcoat the message” about the economic outlook of the microblogging platform, which he had earlier attributed to his decision to introduce a monthly subscription for Twitter verification pegged at $8.

Just yesterday, we reported that the billionaire sold shares worth approximately $3.95 billion in his electric-car-producing company, Tesla, barely one week after finalising his $44 billion purchase of Twitter.

Twitter’s remote work culture

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020, Twitter became the first major U.S. company to make a public announcement about its permanent work-from-home plans. At that time, the company said that it has been quietly dismantling its office culture to allow its team members to work from anywhere across the world.

The effort began with an off-the-cuff email in 2018 by chief executive Jack Dorsey in which he encouraged employees to work from home after a productive day doing so himself. Twitter’s decision to allow its 5,200 primarily San Francisco-based employees to decide where they want to work was praised in Silicon Valley as a new model for attracting and retaining talent based on worker-centric values.

This change enabled many to relocate to popular destinations like Hawaii, rural Ireland or back home to a cheaper state.

In the same vein, the company announced plans to plans to hire its first product team in Africa.

Twitter said it was actively building a team to help it be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the continent. And, it opened up several roles from product and engineering to design, marketing, and communications.

Then, Twitter announced that individuals will fill these roles remotely as it makes plans to establish a physical office in the country later. Twitter opened its African office in Accra, Ghana, months later.

The Ghana team was fired in less than two weeks after Elon Musk took over the company. In fact, there were social media reports the staff members allegedly sent messages about the end of their contracts to their personal accounts, after being denied access to work emails.

A controversial new sheriff in town

Since Musk took over the leadership of Twitter two weeks ago, it’s been one drama after the other, thanks to his plethora of plans for the microblogging site. Recall after months of legal tussle, the billionaire completed the purchase.

In his first act as the new boss, Musk began making drastic changes in the company.

He fired roughly 50% of the company’s employees, including many top executives, in a move to reduce the company’s costs and impose a demanding new work ethic. In response, the affected Twitter employees initiated a class lawsuit.

Five employees sued the company for violating California labour laws that require large employers with more than 100 employees to provide 60 days of notice before any mass layoffs. Former Attorney General candidate Shannon Liss-Riordan filed the class-action lawsuit against Twitter,

Significant changes are now starting to be implemented, such as the $8 monthly subscription cost for verification status, which many people have opposed. Twitter is also said to be reported to be working on a “Paywalled Video” feature that would allow creators to charge for access to their content.

TechCrunch recently reported that Musk detailed his vision for Twitter’s plan to enter the payments market, suggesting that, in the future, users would be able to send money to others on the platform and extract their funds to authenticated bank accounts.

But not everyone seems to be impressed with the controversial ideas of the billionaire, as users appear to be exploring other alternatives to the bird app. According to Mass Live, the microblogging site has lost over 1 million users since the new Chief Twit took over. On Monday, Twitter’s lookalike app Mastodon was trending on Twitter.