Elon Musk's Twitter enters the strange new world of hybrid workplace layoffs

Twitter's new, anti-WFH owner sent employees home so he could lay them off

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An illustration of Elon Musk's profile and the Twitter bird logo
In favor of remote working, just for today.
Illustration: Dado Ruvic (Reuters)

Is this what the future of hybrid workplace layoffs looks like?

After seven days under ownership by Elon Musk, Twitter cut an undisclosed percentage of its staff today. The procedure was brutal, as all layoffs are.

Affected staffers learned their fate via an email, a practice which was considered extremely gauche when RadioShack pioneered it in 2006 but has become standard since the pandemic. Airbnb did it this way (and so, too, did Quartz) in 2020, with initial notifications sent electronically, followed by one-on-one conversations with a manager.


So there are playbooks now for laying off dozens or hundreds or even thousands of people remotely. But with lockdowns in the rearview mirror almost everywhere, those playbooks don’t fully apply anymore. Many of us are back in the office now, at least part of the time.

Twitter’s cuts present the highest-profile example to date of a company making cuts to a hybrid workforce. And what they suggest isn’t encouraging. From the memo Musk sent to staff, which was published in full by Business Insider:

To help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended. If you are in an office or on your way to an office, please return home.


In other words, Musk, who has made no secret of his disdain for remote work, was in the awkward position of sending employees home so that he could fire them.