Elon Musk locks Twitter staff out of offices as hundreds of people quit their jobs

18 November 2022, 07:50

Twitter's offices were locked after hundreds of workers resigned
Twitter's offices were locked after hundreds of workers resigned. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Elon Musk has locked Twitter staff out of their offices until next week as hundreds of workers at the social media firm resigned after being given an ultimatum of ‘hardcore’ work or resigning with severance pay.

Workers took to Twitter to announce they were giving in their papers after Mr Musk's deadline.

No explanation was given as to why the offices were shut. Musk had already fired half the workforce after taking over - before having to ask some of them to return to help.

An email sent to staff read: “Hi, Effective immediately, we are temporarily closing our office buildings and all badge access will be suspended. Offices will reopen on Monday, November 21st.

“Thank you for your flexibility. Please continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.

“We look forward to working with you on Twitter’s exciting future.”

A number of employees took to online forums to discuss their departure, asking if it might jeopardise their US visas or if they would get the promised severance pay.

One employee wrote online: “To all the Tweeps who decided to make today your last day: thanks for being incredible teammates through the ups and downs.

“I can't wait to see what you do next.”

Since taking over Twitter less than three weeks ago, Musk has booted out half of the company's full-time staff of 7,500 and large numbers of contractors responsible for content moderation.

He fired top executives on his first day as Twitter's owner, while others left voluntarily in the ensuing days.

Earlier this week, he began firing a small group of engineers who took issue with him publicly or in the company's internal Slack messaging system.

Then overnight on Wednesday, Mr Musk sent an email to the remaining staff at Twitter, saying that it is a software and servers company at its heart and he asked employees to decide by Thursday evening if they want to remain a part of the business.

Musk wrote that employees "will need to be extremely hardcore" to build "a breakthrough Twitter 2.0" and that long hours at high intensity will be needed for success.

But in a Thursday email, Musk backpedalled on his insistence that everyone work from the office. His initial rejection of remote work had alienated many employees who survived the layoffs.

He softened his earlier tone in an email to employees, writing that "all that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring you are making an excellent contribution".

Workers would also be expected to have "in-person meetings with your colleagues on a reasonable cadence, ideally weekly, but not less than once per month".