Elon Musk Cancels Remote Work in Twitter’s First All-Staff Email

A day after launching $8 verification, Musk tells staff he wants subscriptions to make up half of Twitter revenue

elon musk
Elon Musk (Photo by Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images)

The remaining Twitter staffers after last week’s layoffs will have to show up at the office, new owner Elon Musk said in his first company-wide email.

Less than a week after canning 3,700 staffers — almost half of its workforce — Musk took another hack at the company’s loose work culture, which included a permanent work-from-anywhere arrangement, by recalling everyone to their desks, Bloomberg News first reported. Now, they are expected to show up for at least 40 hours per week, starting immediately.

Remote work was one of the first issues Musk discussed when he said he would buy Twitter for $44 billion earlier this year. He previously eliminated “days of rest” from Twitter staff calendars, a monthly, companywide day off introduced during the pandemic.

The email late Wednesday warned the platform’s workers to prepare for “difficult times ahead” and said remote work was allowed only if Musk personally approved it.

Musk said there was “no way to sugarcoat the message” about the outlook for the economy and how a potential slowdown would hit an advertising-dependent company like Twitter, according to Bloomberg News.

Public companies, including social media rival Meta Platforms, have already seen ad dollars weaken and many are braced for further declines in the fourth quarter, after the midterm elections, which was forecast to see a record $9 billion poured into campaign ads.

The email was sent out a day after the rollout of the new Twitter Blue, the subscription service that lets anyone buy a blue checkmark for their account for $7.99 per month. Subscribers immediately created slews of fake celebrity accounts and sparked vast confusion online.

Musk told workers in the email that he wants to see subscriptions account for half of Twitter’s revenue.

In the second quarter, the last Twitter reported as a public company, it posted a 2% gain in advertising revenue of $1.08 billion, while subscription and other revenue plunged 27% from the prior year to $101 million. Last week, Musk tweeted that activists who pressured advertisers to pause or back away from the platform were responsible for a “massive drop in revenue.”

“The road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed,” Musk wrote in his email. In a separate note, Bloomberg reported, he added that “over the next few days, the absolute top priority is finding and suspending any verified bots/trolls/spam.”

Musk tweeted a poll Thursday morning asking users, “Are you seeing far fewer bots/scams/spam?” The vote had “Yes” leading 52.1% to 47.9% around 10 a.m.

Musk also retweeted a post by Yoel Roth, head of Trust and Safety at Twitter, that claimed success in combating “hateful conduct.”

“We’ve not only mitigated the recent surge in harmful behavior, but have reduced impressions on this content in Search by ~95% relative to even prior baseline levels,” Roth said. “We’re continuing our work to make Twitter safer every day.” Comments on the post ranged from accusations that the company is just “hiding what you dislike” to questions about how it was able to reduce the content so fast so quickly, and “what were you doing before?”