The phrase ‘…when things get back to normal’ has irritated me for a few weeks now because, perhaps, ‘normal’ is not supposed to return?
It seems the boss of Twitter agrees. For some of the social media giant’s almost 5,000 employees their boss Jack Dorsey has announced that working from home will be the new normal – forever.
In an email sent to his employees Dorsey explained the company will permit some employees to work from home permanently, even after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Employees whose roles require physical presence, such as maintaining servers or warehouse logistics, will continue to physically attend offices.
A Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the company is prioritising the safety and well-being of its employees.
“We’ll continue to put the safety of our people and communities first,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve been very thoughtful in how we’ve approached this from the time we were one of the first companies to move to a work-from-home model.”
Dorsey also announced in his email that the company, worth more than US$3.2 billion, will unlikely open its 35+ offices across the world before September this year, and that all in-person events and business travel will be cancelled until 2021.
“We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly,” the Twitter spokesperson said. “We allowed folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere. The past few months have proven we can make that work.”
This move is likely to set a precedent for other major corporations. Office teleworking policies have been drastically modified since the beginning of the pandemic, with companies including Amazon, Google and Microsoft inviting its employees to acclimatise to work-from-home settings. These invitations grew into strict mandates, which many officials believe helped curb the spread of the virus.
Dorsey also announced on Tuesday that he would increase the work from home supply allowances up to $US1,000 for all employees.
Large tech companies have been setting the Work-From-Home trend, with Google and Facebook announcing they are allowing employees to work from home until the end of the 2020, Amazon’s employees until September and Slack until October.
“If we can work remotely, if we can work from home, and help take some of the pressure off and flatten the curve, we will do that,” the president of Google.org, Jacquelline Fuller, told Bloomberg TV earlier this month. “We will be using science to guide us in our decision making.”
In the last 24 hours, Dorsey announced he would donate US$15 million to Give2SF Response & Recovery Fund, a San Francisco based charity that provides food security, housing access and small business support programs for undocumented, mixed status, and low-income residents.
Shortly prior, the 43-year old multibillionaire pledged a US$10 million donation to Reform Alliance, a prison reform non-profit to ensure Personal Protective Equipment is distributed across every jail and prison in the US.
“Of the top 10 COVID-19 hotspots in the US, 8 are linked to prisons and jails,” he Tweeted. “The goal is to help ensure the incarcerated population, correctional officers, healthcare workers, & personnel working state, federal, & private facilities are protected from COVID-19 exposure.”
In April, the San Fransisco -based CEO announced a US$1 billion donation (roughly 28% of his total wealth) to relief programs related to coronavirus research. Certainly, with these workplace revolutions and public philanthropy, Dorsey is proving his business is not just a technology company.