Twitter says employees can work remotely forever. Here’s what workers think

Imagine never having to return to the office? That’s about to happen to some Twitter employees.

The social media giant reportedly is allowing workers to work from home permanently in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Buzzfeed News reported, citing en email Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent to employees Tuesday. The report noted that some jobs will require in-person attendance.

Twitter human resources chief Jennifer Christie laid out the company’s plans in a blog post, explaining that employees’ capabilities to work remotely during COVID-19 have allowed them to ease up on return policies.

“We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere,” Christie said. “The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”

These are Twitter’s reopening plans, per Christie:

– Opening offices will be our decision, when and if our employees come back, will be theirs.

-With very few exceptions, offices won’t open before September. When we do decide to open offices, it also won’t be a snap back to the way it was before. It will be careful, intentional, office by office and gradual.

-There will also be no business travel before September, with very few exceptions, and no in-person company events for the rest of 2020. We will assess 2021 events later this year.

While Twitter was one of the first companies to move to the work-from-home model, the work method seems like it’s here to stay as the modern workforce was forced to move at-home during the COVID-19 outbreak. Other tech companies like Google and Facebook announced similar measures with extended work-from-home options, which might be the tipping point for remote working, according to Prodoscore CEO Sam Naficy.

“The reason is more than just flattening the curve. It’s about protecting the integrity of their workforce. But soon these companies will realize having an unused physical office is an expense they cannot afford,” Naficy said.

“And after a while, no one will want to go back to business as usual. That means companies will need to invest in infrastructure that will provide the right level of mentorship and guidance to their staff. We don’t think spyware is the solution. Responsible companies will need to embrace technology that measures employee productivity transparently, and in a way that both managers and employees can benefit.”

Employers should understand that workers are likely to be hesitant returning to the office, and experts suggest hearing them out before forcing them back in their seats. Beyond health and safety concerns, employees’ mindset has changed about their place in the office since the pandemic started.

A recent study conducted by The Grossman Group found that nearly half (48%) of US employees want to work remotely after the outbreak. That mindset isn’t skewed by one generation either: 39% of Gen Z, 38% of both Millennials and Gen X, and 37% of Baby Boomers all wanted to work remotely after the pandemic.

A separate study by Citrix found that 64% of US workers said they would not feel comfortable returning to the office for one month or more. Even as offices do reopen, respondents said employers should require face masks to be worn by all employees (46%), disposable gloves (43%), and hand sanitizers throughout the office.

Forty-one percent of respondents said health checks every two weeks testing for coronavirus should also be part of reopening strategies.