Return To Office Or Resign: Does Twitter’s Mass Layoff Signal The End Of Working From Home?

The recent takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk has resulted in massive changes to the company including the mass layoff of about 50% of the company and the end of the permanent remote work policy.

As one of the first companies to implement a permanent remote work policy, does Twitter’s reversal signal the end of remote work (be it working from home or working from anywhere) for everyone else?

Read Also: Would The Great Resignation Become The Great Retrenchment?

Senior Management Matters When It Comes To Remote Work Policy

When it comes to HR policy and the resultant company culture that it aims to inculcate, the position of senior management is key. In some ways, the reversal of Twitter’s remote work policy is not unexpected given the change in CEO.

Elon Musk, the new CEO/ “Chief Twit” of Twitter, has long been a critic of remote work. In his memo to Tesla staff, even before his acquisition of Twitter, Elon Musk had harsh words for remote work and required his staff to report a minimum of 40 hours to the office.

In contrast, Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, is a long-time advocate for remote work. Under his management, Twitter was one of the first companies to announce a permanent work-from-home policy during the pandemic in May 2020. This policy was not rescinded during his tenure at Twitter and his successor, Parag Agrawal, continued the remote work policy.

However, the change in CEO also meant a change in Twitter’s remote work policy and a continuation of the individual CEO’s stance on remote work. If working from home is important to you as an employee, it may be crucial to find out more about your senior management’s stance on remote work and whether there are upcoming changes in senior management.

Read Also: Working From Anywhere: Things You Need To Know Before Working Remotely Overseas

Is 40 Hours Of Work Reasonable?

According to various news reports, Elon Musk’s first email to Twitter staff was to remove remote work, unless exempted with special approval from him. Instead, employees are required to be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week.

For employees used to working from home, 40 hours in office may sound like a hard ask, but is it unreasonable?

According to Singapore’s employment laws, full-time employment refers to employees with normal working hours which is at least 35 hours per week. In 2021, the average paid hours worked per week was 44.2 hours, while the actual working hours was 44.4 hours in Singapore. This means the average Singapore worker was easily spending more than 40 hours in the office before the pandemic.

With most offices taking a hybrid working arrangement approach, many of us are gradually easing our way back into spending more hours in the office, even if it isn’t 40 hours a week at the moment.

Read Also: What Is The Average Working Hours In Singapore For Full-Time And Part-Time Employees

Remote Work Is A Privilege That Can Be Cut In Times Of Company Crisis

While it remains to be seen how Twitter will fare under the management of Elon Musk, Twitter does appear to be in dire straits as the company is losing over $4 million a day.

Given that the company has laid off about 50% of its staff, it is hard to expect a continuation of remote working. While the communication may be less than desired, remote work is an HR benefit that can be rescinded, along with other benefits.

Unfortunately for Twitter staff, the cost-cutting measures started with retrenchment first, which goes against most accepted HR practices, including the recommendations of Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower. Retrenchment should be a last resort.

Read Also: Retrenchment Should Be The Last Resort: 4 Options Companies Can Consider To Reduce Cost First

While Twitter was the frontrunner in remote working, its current HR policies appear to be chaotic to outsiders. Instead of looking to Twitter as a model, employers and employees should look internally at their own company policies to figure out what works best for their own company culture.

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