Twitter tells employees they can work from home ‘forever’

'The past few months have proven we can make that work,' VP of people writes.
By: | May 12, 2020 • 3 min read
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Twitter will give its employees the option to work from home “forever” following the coronavirus pandemic that pushed the employer to embrace the working arrangement.

The social media company said Tuesday that it won’t open its offices back up until at least September, but employees won’t have to come back to the office—ever—if they don’t want to.

“The past few months have proven we can make that work,” Jennifer Christie, the company’s vice president of people, said in a blog post on Twitter’s website. “So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen. If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”

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Twitter’s announcement comes as companies across the country are contemplating whether they will continue to allow remote work options for employees in a post-pandemic world. As employers were left changing and adopting practices to enable workers to do so because of the COVID-19 outbreak—and many seeing that they worked well—it may stand to reason they keep those policies in place, some experts say.

“It only makes sense that employers are going to think long and hard about expanding flexible work arrangements and remote work options once things return to some semblance of normalcy,” says Mark McGraw, total rewards research analyst at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). “I think companies are going to see that some, maybe many, of the jobs they’ve always thought had to be done onsite could be done just about anywhere and could be done just as well.”

Recent data from i4cp found that more than half of 27 employers surveyed plan to expand or increase flexible work arrangements on a more permanent basis after the coronavirus outbreak is contained. Just 15% said they did not plan to revisit remote work options in the wake of COVID-19.

Related: I’m a remote worker. Here’s what I want HR leaders to know

Advocates say flexible working benefits—including remote work, flextime and compressed workweeks—encourage work/life balance and can result in higher productivity and increased employee satisfaction, loyalty and engagement. They also can help retain working parents, caregivers or workers with health conditions who have to balance doctors’ appointments and work hours.

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“For many, flexible and remote working options give people more choice in when, where and how they work, and a lot of people value that,” Kimberly Bowen, vice president of talent management at Unum, told HRE recently. “Having the option to work remotely may enable people to travel more, spend less time in traffic, or better balance their other responsibilities. These may seem like small wins, but that flexibility can play into employees’ overall wellbeing and quality of both work and life.”

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.