Twitter fell into a pitless chaos under its new owner Elon Musk after several employees appeared to have quit following a deadline by the billionaire entrepreneur and the company sent messages it was closing its “office buildings” for the next few days.
The New York Times (NYT) said in a report that after a 5 pm Thursday deadline was given by Musk to employees to choose whether to quit or stay on at Twitter, “hundreds of Twitter employees appeared to have decided to depart with three months of severance pay.” Twitter also announced through email that it would close “our office buildings” and disable employee badge access until Monday.
During all this, Musk and his advisers also held meetings with some Twitter workers deemed “critical” and to stop them from leaving the company. The chaos also included confusing messages from Musk about the company’s remote work policy.
Musk’s team also held meetings with “undecided employees” who are considered key to Twitter’s operations in a bid to try to persuade them to stay.
“In his pitch, Mr Musk said that he knew how to win and that those who wanted to win should join him,” the NYT report said.
“In one of those meetings, some employees were summoned to a conference room in the San Francisco office while others called in via videoconference. As the 5 pm deadline passed, some who had called in began hanging up, seemingly having decided to leave, even as Mr. Musk continued speaking,” it added.
Over the past few weeks, Musk has been firing those who oppose or disagree with him, often through public tweets.
He has told employees that they need to be “extremely hard core” to make the company a success and gave Twitter’s remaining employees just about 36 hours to leave or commit to building “a breakthrough Twitter 2.0.” The unraveling at Twitter came within weeks of Musk acquiring the social media company for USD 44 billion last month and laying off half of Twitter’s 7,500 full-time workers, including over 200 employees in India.
The NYT report added that the “shedding of so many employees in such a compressed period has raised questions about how Twitter will keep operating effectively.” The report said after Musk asked workers to decide whether to stay with the company or depart, employees were provided with a FAQ ( frequently asked questions) document about exit packages on Wednesday.
The FAQ opened by saying that Musk’s ultimatum was an “official company communication” and “not a phishing attempt.” “As you have seen, Twitter is at the beginning of an exciting journey,” the document said.
The FAQ said employees would have to “maximise working from an office” and “work the hours necessary to do your job at the highest level,” including early mornings, late nights and weekends, the NYT report said.
Musk also sent out confusing and differing messages about Twitter’s remote work policy, first saying that all Twitter employees must come into the office to work at least 40 hours a week and then announcing that “Regarding remote work, all that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring that you are making an excellent contribution.” The NYT report said minutes later, Musk “sent another email to staff saying managers were on the hook not to lie about strong work as a cover for employees to work from home.” “Any manager who falsely claims that someone reporting to them is doing excellent work or that a given role is essential, whether remote or not, will be exited from the company,” Musk said.