TikTok tells employees to return to office for three days a week

Popular short-video app TikTok is currently working fully remote and is yet to set a return-to-office date.
Popular short-video app TikTok is currently working fully remote and is yet to set a return-to-office date.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Popular short-video app TikTok told its employees on Monday (July 12) that some will be offered the option to work remotely for up to two days a week after they return to the office, according to an internal message seen by Reuters.

TikTok will also give employees the choice to work remotely from a domestic location based on manager approval, according to the message.

This policy applies to full-time employees and interns in the United States, Britain and Ireland, with other markets to follow.

The company is currently working fully remote and is yet to set a return-to-office date.

TikTok hired "thousands of colleagues" during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the message.

"There is no substitute for in-person collaboration, and we're excited to eventually reopen our US offices. But it's clear that many of us have adjusted well to working from home, and value the flexibility and balance," one of the messages said.

TikTok operates in countries including the US, Britain, France, Germany, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. The US is one of TikTok's biggest markets, with major hubs in Mountain View, California; Los Angeles; New York and Austin, Texas.

The vast majority of employers believe their employees do not want to return to in-person work as offices reopen amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and most are planning to implement a hybrid model allowing remote work some of the time, according to a survey that Reuters reported in May.

TikTok is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance and has sought to distance itself from Beijing after the US raised national security concerns over the safety of the personal data it handles.

With Covid-19 vaccination rates on the rise, major US tech companies are diverging on how and when to reopen their offices.

Some Twitter employees in San Francisco and New York returned to the office on Monday as the company reopened its corporate campuses at 50 per cent capacity in the two cities.

Alphabet’s Google announced employees can voluntarily return to the office starting late this month, while Apple expects employees to work from the office three days per week starting in early September.

Twitter employees shared pictures of their breakfasts and unmasked selfies in the elevator. One employee, referencing the food and music at the social media firm’s San Francisco office, wrote on Twitter: “I am more stoked than I expected to be.”

While some employees expressed excitement, most want minimal time in the office.

An internal company survey found that 45 per cent of employees in San Francisco and 63 per cent in New York intend to return to the office, even if just one day per week. The remaining intend to keep working remotely.

Twitter, which announced in May last year that employees could work from anywhere, is requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination for office re-entry. The company is still allowing employees whose jobs can be done remotely to work from home indefinitely.

Twitter chief financial officer Ned Segal said in a tweet that the company hopes to support employees “whether on their sofa or in an office”.

Twitter will continue to adjust employees’ salaries based on cost of living in their location - a consideration for those who choose to work remotely. Facebook and Google have also reaffirmed their commitment to location-based pay policies.

Twitter will decide when to reopen other offices based on Covid-19 infection and vaccination rates in each location, according to the company.