There will be “difficult times ahead” for Twitter workers — and they will unfold at Twitter’s offices, according to Elon Musk, the social-media company’s new owner.
In his first email to staff after acquiring Twitter for $44 billion and overseeing layoffs for roughly half its staff of approximately 7,500, Musk told workers he’s expecting them back in the office at least 40 hours a week, according to Bloomberg.
Remote work will only get the green light when Musk personally approves it, according to the email sent late Wednesday, the Bloomberg report said.
Two years ago, long before Musk’s acquisition, Twitter said staff could work from anywhere.
“Two years ago, long before Musk’s acquisition, Twitter said staff could work from anywhere. Not anymore.”
That was an early high-profile win for the concept of remote work, which has gone from a pandemic fallback plan to a feature of — and an expectation for — many white-collar jobs. A hybrid mix of some days in the office and some days at home is growing in popularity, according to one recent poll of CEOs.
For around two months, average weekly office occupancy has hovered around 47%, although Wednesdays appear to be somewhat busier, according to one gauge of office occupancy from Kastle Systems, a security-technology company.
If hybrid work becomes the new normal, it looks like Twitter will be an exception.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Some executives believe that serious work happens in person and have doubts about the productivity of remote workers, research suggests.
At the same time, many workers say they are working just as hard, if not harder, when they are physically away from the office. That’s given rise to “productivity paranoia,” according to researchers at Microsoft
“Many midlevel managers are ‘passively rebelling’ against return-to-office directives because a hard insistence could push workers away.”
— Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University professor
On the one hand, managers worry that their staff aren’t doing enough when they’re away from the office. On the other hand, workers also worry they are not doing enough when working at home, researchers noted.
But many midlevel managers are “passively rebelling” against return-to-office directives because a hard insistence could push workers away, said Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University professor who has studied remote and hybrid work.
Doubts about hybrid and remote work persist. Nearly half (49%) of workers think their managers view people who work in the office as harder-working and more trustworthy than their remote-working colleagues, according to a recent survey from Owl Labs.
And yet 62% of polled workers felt more productive while working remotely, the report concluded. Owl Labs makes technology and products that support remote work and collaboration.
“Historically, employers have equated in-office work with maximum productivity. This year’s data has shown that productivity levels are more dependent on the types of activities employees are actually working on,” the survey said.
But it’s a polarizing and often contradictory debate. A majority of workers said the office was best for meeting and managing people, Owl Labs found. And while 51% said home was the best place to think creatively, 30% said the office was the optimal place to do their best creative thinking.