After “strongly encouraging” it earlier this month, Twitter said today that working from home is now mandatory for all employees around the world due to COVID-19 concerns. In the announcement, the company said, “We understand this is an unprecedented step, but these are unprecedented times.”
The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic yesterday. There are now about 118,000 reported cases in 114 countries, with the global death roll passing 4,000.
The company said it will help all employees, including hourly workers and contractors, cover expenses for setting up home offices. Contractors, vendors and hourly workers who cannot work from home will continue to be paid for their standard working hours while the work-from-home policy is in effect. Twitter also said it will cover additional daycare expenses parents may have if their usual daycares close due to COVID-19.
Twitter’s Inclusion and Diversity team will also hold a virtual “#FlockTalk,” an employee support program to discuss how “news around COVID-19 is impacting people in a number of different ways—from schools and offices being closed, to serious health concerns, to racism towards communities.”
On March 2, Twitter announced that it was strongly encouraging working from home, and making it mandatory for employees in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, due partly to government restrictions. In today’s announcement, the company said it is expanding its policy worldwide because “our top priority remains the health and safety of our Tweeps, and we also have a responsibility to support our communities, those who are vulnerable, and the healthcare providers who are on the front lines of this pandemic.”
Other large tech companies, including Amazon, Box, and Lyft, have implemented work from home recommendations or policies in response to COVID-19, while major events like MWC and E3 have been cancelled or moved partially online.