When the pandemic began, Twitter was one of the biggest tech companies to allow employees to permanently work from home. “Opening offices will be our decision, when and if our employees come back, will be theirs,” read a note posted on Twitter’s official blog in May 2020.
But within weeks of Elon Musk acquiring Twitter for an eye-popping $44 billion, that benefit is gone: Twitter employees are now expected back in the office at least 40 hours per week. Anyone who wants to work from home will need Musk’s personal sign-off.
“The road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed,” Musk added in the email to employees, according to Bloomberg.
Musk has a much-publicized aversion to the concept of remote work. Earlier this year, he wrote an email to managers at Tesla, his electric car company, that described remote work as no longer acceptable. “Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla,” read the email, which was reprinted by Electrik.
Musk feels the most effective managers are those working side-by-side with their team members and colleagues. “The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence,” he reportedly wrote in a follow-up email. “This is why I lived in the factory so much—so that those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I had not done that, Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt.”
However, Musk’s insistence on in-office work runs contrary to the policies at many other tech companies. Google, Apple, Airbnb, and other tech giants have all embraced remote and/or hybrid work. Meanwhile, in survey after survey, technologists have indicated their overwhelming preference for working at least a few days from home. Musk presumably wants to hire the best possible talent to work at Twitter—but can he do that if the talent doesn’t want to come into an office five days per week?