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Elon Musk could cut 'half of Twitter jobs' and scrap its remote work policy

Twitter offices in San Francisco
Twitter offices in San Francisco   -   Copyright  AP Photo   -  
By Sarah Palmer

Elon Musk is reportedly looking to cut 3,700 jobs at Twitter, or roughly half of the company's workforce, in a bid to slash costs at the social media platform he just acquired.

He also wants to revoke employees’ right to work remotely and require them to come into the office full-time, according to Bloomberg, Axios and the FT, which cite people close to the matter.

Those impacted by the cuts could be informed on Friday, according to the reports.

In just a week, Musk has already made some controversial decisions regarding the platform he bought for €44.4 billion after months of legal drama.

After firing Twitter’s top management, the billionaire entrepreneur appointed himself CEO, announced he would be charging users for the coveted blue tick and proposed bringing back the defunct video sharing platform Vine.

Twitter employees have been bracing for potential mass layoffs for the past two weeks, following a bombshell report by the Washington Post that Musk planned to get rid of nearly 75 per cent of the company’s 7,500 workers.

The New York Times reported last week that Musk had been planning to lay off Twitter employees before Nov. 1 to avoid stock grants due on the day, something he denied.

Bye-bye remote work

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Twitter was one of the first companies to allow employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.

But under Musk, it now reportedly plans to require its remaining staffers to return to physical offices full-time.

Those who need to relocate to be near a Twitter office will have as little as 60 days to do so, according to Axios. One source familiar with the matter told the news website that many employees can’t or won’t be willing to relocate, so even more jobs would be lost.

But according to all reports, the plans for the platform are constantly changing right now, and several staff meetings have been cancelled at short notice in the past few days.

Earlier this year, Musk enacted a similar return-to-office mandate at one of his other companies, electric carmaker Tesla. He said he expected everyone at Tesla to spend at least 40 hours in the office each week - or just “pretend to work” elsewhere.

What does this mean for the future of Twitter?

With no senior board, half its horsepower and a potentially unhappy workforce, it’s going to be interesting times ahead for the little blue bird.

Several public figures have already signalled they were ready to leave the platform, including horror novelist Stephen King and NBA legend LeBron James and creator. Others, like screenwriter Shonda Rhimes, have already made their exit.

Euronews Next spoke to one ex-employee at Twitter, who explained what it was like working there under its previous leadership a few years ago.

“There was this general feeling that we were doing something really essential and positive, albeit stressful and high-pressure.

“One thing I did notice while there was how kind Twiter was to its employees. Great with stuff like mental health. We got lots of perks. Very collaborative too and almost everyone working there seemed passionate about what they were doing”.

Today, we contacted a current Twitter employee for comment on the past week’s events. They replied: “Unable to talk right now, too stressed”.