Read Elon Musk’s first email to all Twitter employees: Remote work over, company needs subscriptions to survive downturn

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A video grab taken from a video posted on the Twitter account of billionaire Tesla chief Elon Musk on October 26, 2022 shows himself carrying a sink as he enters the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Elon Musk changed his Twitter profile to “Chief Twit” and posted video of himself walking into the social network’s California headquarters carrying a sink, days before his contentious takeover of the company must be finalized.
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In his first companywide email to Twitter employees, new owner and CEO Elon Musk said he was ending the social network’s “work from home forever” policy. Now, according to the email obtained by CNBC, Musk wants employees to be in a Twitter office at least 40 hours a week, and plans to personally approve any alternative arrangements.

He also warned employees that the company might not survive the economic downturn without significant subscription revenue. Musk wants to shift the company’s business so that it generates at least half of its revenue from subscriptions, and can become less reliant on advertising. But he said, in the staff email, that he still anticipates Twitter will generate significant revenue from advertisers.

Bloomberg previously reported on the policy changes.

These changes come amid additional resignations from C-level executives at Twitter including Chief Information and Security Officer Lea Kissner, current employees told CNBC.

On Twitter, Kissner wrote:

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter. I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing people and I’m so proud of the privacy, security, and IT teams and the work we’ve done. I’m looking forward to figuring out what’s next.” Kissner also noted, “I’ve loved this job and we got *so* much done, but here we are.”

Musk’s return-to-office policy for Twitter reflects one that he implemented at his electric vehicle maker, Tesla, earlier this year. On May 31, he told Tesla employees that they must return to the office at least 40 hours a week or resign.

Some Tesla employees who were unable to return to the office right away were told they would be able to continue their work for another several weeks but said they were fired instead, when they did not immediately agree to come back.

Twitter’s workplace culture stood in stark contrast to that of Musk’s electric car and sustainable energy company.

Co-founder and then-CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey, who pushed for Musk to take over the company, told employees in May 2020 they could work from home “forever,” becoming one of the first companies to institute such a lasting remote work policy during the Covid pandemic.

Many advertisers have paused spending on Twitter until Musk and his team can prove that under their leadership, the social network is able to curb hate speech, online harassment, fake accounts and fraud effectively.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here’s the full e-mail from Musk to Twitter staff, transcribed by CNBC.

From: Elon Musk [email removed]

Date: Nov 9, 2022 [time stamp removed]

To: Team

Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company but there is no way to sugarcoat the message.

Frankly, the economic picture ahead is dire especially for a company like ours that is so dependent on advertising in a challenging economic climate. Moreover, 70% of our advertising is brand, rather than specific performance, which makes us doubly vulnerable! 

That is why the priority over the past ten days has been to develop and launch Twitter Blue Verified subscriptions (huge props to the team!). 

Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn. We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription.

Of course, we will still then be significantly reliant on advertising, so I am spending time with our sales & partnerships teams to ensure that Twitter continues to be appealing to advertisers.  

This is the Spaces discussion that Robin, Yoel and I hosted today: [Link to Elon Q&A: Advertising & the Future removed] 

The road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed. We are also changing Twitter policy such that remote work is no longer allowed unless you have a specific exception. Managers will send the exception lists to me for review and approval.

Starting tomorrow (Thursday), everyone is required to be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week. Obviously, if you are physically unable to travel to an office or have a critical personal obligation, then your absence is understandable.

I look forward to working with you to take Twitter to a whole new level. The potential is truly incredible!



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