Elon Musk sent his first email to Twitter staff late Wednesday, warning of a difficult economic road ahead and telling employees they need to be in office for a minimum of 40 hours per week. "Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company, but there is no way to sugarcoat the message," he began, ominously.
Musk continued by emphasizing that relying on advertising revenue makes Twitter vulnerable, which is why he's pushing the new Twitter Blue Verified subscription so hard. The subscription costs $8 a month and is already causing problems with impersonation. "Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the economic transition," the email, seen by Protocol, reads. Musk doesn't completely throw advertising under the bus, however, linking to a recording of his Twitter Spaces on the topic.
Remote work is no longer allowed at Twitter starting Thursday. By the time the email was sent, it was already midday for Twitter employees in Japan and 30 minutes before work hours for employees in Dublin. Musk said he will personally review requests for employees wishing to continue remote work. He hedged the Thursday start date slightly, writing: "Obviously if you are physically unable to travel to an office or have a critical personal obligation, then your absence is understandable."
Twitter was one of the tech companies leading the charge with "remote work forever" when the pandemic started, and the change is predictably prompting pushback from employees. After Musk's email went out, a senior legal counsel at Twitter told employees in the company’s New York City office Slack channel they believed no one has an obligation to return to office — especially not on short notice — as the mandate represents a fundamental change to their employment contracts, according to screenshots reviewed by Protocol.The counsel also encouraged Tweeps to use Twitter's unlimited PTO policy to take the day off.
The counsel also noted that Twitter's CISO, chief privacy officer, and chief compliance officer also all resigned from the company late Wednesday. Former CISO Lea Kissner confirmed their departure from the company in a Thursday tweet.
Many tech workers have grown accustomed to remote work. The change in policy may push more Tweeps to leave — but this may be Musk's intention. After a week of owning Twitter, Musk laid off half the company via an unsigned email. He later tried to get some of those employees back.