(CNN) — It looks set to be another employee exodus on Twitter, as many workers rejected Elon Musk’s ultimatum to work “extremely hard” and opted to leave the company, according to multiple employees and former employees.
As the deadline for Twitter employees to respond approached to Elon Musk’s ultimatum to commit to working “extremely hard” company or leave, some employees appeared to publicly indicate that they had chosen the latter option. On Thursday afternoon, Twitter employees began posting the greeting emoji, which has become a sign that someone is leaving the company. A Twitter employee said in a tweet that the decision to join the company was “one of the easiest decisions ever made. Deciding to leave today was 100% the opposite.
Meanwhile, an internal Slack channel at the company was abuzz with employees who posted the greeting emoji after the 5 p.m. deadline, indicating they had opted not to sign Musk’s pledge and leave the company, the company said. employees at CNN.
Twitter’s remaining workforce had until 5 p.m. ET Thursday to decide whether they wanted to be part of the culture Musk wants to implement at the social media company, or to effectively resign, according to an email he sent to staff Wednesday.
A former Twitter executive who recently left the company described Thursday’s employee departures as a “mass exodus.”
On Thursday night, following the resignations, employees remaining with the company received an email informing them that company offices will be temporarily closed and access to credentials will be restricted until Monday, according to a copy of the email obtained by CNN from a current Twitter employee. Musk’s team similarly closed offices during mass layoffs earlier this month due to a concern for security and an apparent fear that departing employees might try to sabotage the company by leaving.
Two Twitter employees told CNN before Thursday’s deadline that they planned to reject the ultimatum, citing a toxic work environment they say the billionaire has introduced to the company. Another Twitter employee told CNN on Wednesday that they were still weighing the decision, saying Musk’s email “felt like a punch to the stomach because no matter how you felt about wanting to stay or wanting to leave, you were forced to.” to make a decision and feel like you are against the clock to make the best decision for you and your family”.
The employee added: “Those decisions are more than just 24 hours.”
Musk told employees Wednesday that his goal is to build “Twitter 2.0” and that those who choose to stay will have to commit to working “long hours at high intensity” and presumably accept his demand from Twitter employees, who have worked largely remotely, to return to work in the office. As of noon Thursday, employees were still unclear as to which remote work exceptions would be granted if they choose to stay on, one employee said.
Later Thursday, amid an apparent struggle by management to avoid losing too many workers to the ultimatum, Musk sent an email to staff seeking to clarify his position on remote work, according to the text of the email obtained by CNN from a Twitter employee who asked not to be named.
“Regarding remote work, all that is required for approval is your manager taking responsibility for ensuring you are making an excellent contribution,” Musk said in the email, adding that workers are expected to attend meetings. in person no less than once a month.
Twenty minutes later, Musk sent a follow-up email that read: “At the risk of stating the obvious, any manager who falsely claims that someone reporting to them is doing an excellent job or that a certain role is essential, whether remote or not, you will be fired from the company.”
The decision to issue an ultimatum came after Musk earlier this month laid off half of Twitter’s staff, reducing its workforce to around 3,700 employees, and also reportedly laying off many of Twitter’s contract workers. . He also kicked out its top leaders and dissolved the board of directors. Musk too recently laid off some employees for criticizing him in tweets or on internal Slack channels.
“I don’t want to stay behind to build a product that is being poisoned inside and out,” a current employee who plans to resign but requested anonymity to avoid jeopardizing severance, told CNN.
“Everyone has a price but up to a certain point, and this layoff gives me some comfort to seek a better environment despite the economy,” added the employee.
The same person said management seems concerned about the number of people planning to leave, adding that they are “struggling” to convince talent to stay. Twitter, which has reportedly removed most of its public relations team, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Another Twitter employee, who asked not to be quoted, shared similar concerns and said he also planned to leave the company.
A recently laid off employee who remains in contact with former co-workers told CNN that everyone they had spoken to planned to reject Musk’s ultimatum and leave the company.
“People can’t ignore the public ridicule and firing of other employees,” the former employee told CNN. “Similarly, they can’t overlook or feel comfortable working for someone who has handled the last few weeks the way Elon has,” he added.
“People don’t want to sacrifice their mental health and family life to make the richest man in the world richer,” the former employee added.
But the decision may not be so easy for others. The ultimatum comes during a difficult period for the technology industry, following mass layoffs and hiring freeze announcements at many major companies, including Meta, Amazon, Lyft and others. Employees working in the United States from other countries could also risk losing their work visas if they leave the company.
A fourth employee told CNN on Thursday that they plan to stay with the company “because change is rarely influenced from the outside.”
The shakeup likely to come as a result of the ultimatum will be the latest element of the “fundamental organizational restructuring” following Musk’s inauguration, he said Wednesday in a Delaware court during a trial over his Tesla salary package.
Musk said in Wednesday’s email that the “new Twitter” will be “much more engineering-driven,” leaving some non-engineering workers to wonder if their jobs could be at risk even if they choose to stay.
“There’s no safety in this, you just think, ‘I might be able to defend myself, maybe not,’” said the employee who expressed uncertainty about the decision. “What’s behind this door? you do not know. The only door you know to be safe is the exit door.”
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Twitter employees say goodbye after Elon Musk’s ultimatum to work ‘extremely hard’